Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Dinner in the Gnudi: Not Pasta, Not Gnocchi, but something deliciously different

Do you feel like getting Gnudi tonight? If you've never tried gnudi (pronounced nude-y), tender, gnocchi-esque pasta dumplings, then you've got off at the right stop. These creamy ricotta creations are actually deceptively light and shine with simple sauces and fresh ingredients. And it's the perfect season to add fresh herbs straight from the market or your garden to your gnudi tonight!
These delightful little dumplings are also called malfatti, which means ‘poorly put together,’( a fine description of my early attempts  exactly) or gnudi, which means ‘naked,’ depending on the area of Tuscany you hail from. Gnudi are very simply that: ravioli filling without the pasta encasing. They’re light, fluffy and don’t miss the extra starch one bit. They’re also not fancy, and very quick and easy to make,( once you´ve got the hang of it).Happily, they’re considerably easier to make than either ravioli or gnocchi, so if you’re yet to sample the pleasures of the naked lunch, or indeed dinner, throw caution to the wind and tuck in.once in the Gnudi ,always in the Gnudi.

Gnudi
Serves 2
I wanted to try a version that’s a little more refined and thought the white would contrast nicely with summer colours, so I made a pea,leek and broad bean cream,topping it with some more peas and shredded spring onions. 
250g fresh Requeijao (Ricotta) 
50g freshly grated Parmesan 
generous gratings of nutmeg 
250g carôço de milho( semolina), approx.
salt and pepper to taste 
extra grated Parmesan to hand at table
For the sauce and garnish:
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas, shelled
1/2 cup frozen broad beans

2 tablespoons of chopped leeks, light green part only
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon herbs mix — mint,parsley,basil
Half a cup of vegetable stock

1 spring onion,plus extra shredded for garnish
chives for garnish
Flor de sal and freshly ground pepper
Your favorite spring vegetables, lightly cooked in olive oil, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese to garnish

Sauté leeks spring onion and shallot in olive oil,add the wine and boil off till reduced, add half the peas and half the broad beans, salt pepper and stock, cook for a couple more minutes.Transfer mixture into a blender or food processor with fresh herbs and purée.Thin with some milk if you want a thinner creamier consistency. Season with salt and pepper, ladle some sauce to cover the bottom of a soup plate, top with gnudi and garnish with spring onions the rest of the peas and broad beans.
FOR THE GNUDI
Put the ricotta, Parmesan and nutmeg into a bowl and beat together until smooth.
Pour the semolina into a shallow tray. Slightly wet the palms of your hands and briefly lay them in the semolina. Now take up a small piece of the ricotta mix [a large teaspoon, say], gently roll it into a ball about the size of a big marble and drop it into the semolina. Push the tray back and forth to fully coat the ball with semolina and continue this process until all the ricotta mixture is used up. Transfer the gnudi into a tub, sprinkle semolina between each layer and on top, making sure the dumplings are well covered.
Place in the fridge, covered, overnight.
The next day, carefully lift out the gnudi from the semolina and put onto a large plate lined with kitchen paper.
Put a large, wide pot of lightly salted water on to boil [also, have four hot plates ready to hand].
Spoon over the warm sauce and serve without delay. Hand extra parmesan at table for those who want it: Me.

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