Cooking in the Gnudi

Naked as on the day they were born - amazing little balls of goodness!
Just in case you were worried about casa rosada there is no naked chef here mother, just a naked ravioli of ricotta dumplings.
Gnudi means 'nude' in italian. I have been watching  "Simon Hopkinson Cooks" and as part of a Mediterranean lunch this was one of the dishes he cooked - basically ravioli without the wrapper, hence 'nude.'Well there is no cooking gnudi on the agenda for the cookery workshop so there is no need to be alarmed.
For those of you not familiar with Hopkinson you should check out his books packed full interesting recipes, "Week in Week Out","Roast chicken and other stories", and "Second helpings of roast chicken"
I was so enthralled by what I saw that I had to make it to discover what was the real joy of gnudi.It was so delicious that we ended up eating all four portions, even though there were just two of us.Eating gnudi at the supper table is something I could quite easily get into the habit of.
With Italian cooking in particular the food is mostly really simple, placing emphasis on choosing the best quality ingredients possible. With things like mozzarella, olive oils and in this case,curd cheese, there is a stark difference in taste from the cheap produce found in the supermarkets to what you can get from specialist shops and delis,so choose carefully.This dish lends itself to the Portuguese equivalent of ricotta - Requeijao. I got home from shopping with a Requeijao that had much better flavour, and more important to this recipe, texture. The stuff you find in supermarkets seems to be on the wetter side, which will make it much more difficult when rolling the gnudi. 

Serves 4
250g fresh Requeijao (Ricotta)
50g freshly grated Parmesan
A few gratings of nutmeg
250g carôço de milho( semolina), approx.
50g butter
about 20 sage leaves
extra grated Parmesan to hand at table

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].
Meanwhile, melt the butter over a low heat. When it is frothing, toss in the sage leaves, gently cook them until crisp, and without the butter becoming too brown; it should, however, smell nutty and look golden. Once the leaves are crisp, lift them out and set them to one side, turn off the heat but leave the sage infused butter in the pan.
Once the water boils, turn it down to a simmer and slide in the gnudi. Now turn up the heat a touch and patiently wait until the gnudi float to the surface; about 4-5 minutes.
When all the gnudi have risen, carefully lift them out [they are delicate] using a slotted spoon, draining them well, and divide equally between four hot plates.
Turn the heat up under the melted butter to warm it back up. Sprinkle the sage leaves over the gnudi.
Spoon over the warm butter and serve without delay. Hand extra parmesan at table for those who want it: Me.


  1. O I love Gnudi....I made April Bloomfield's( The Spotted Pig) which are exactly the same and they were divine and very simple to make.


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