It’s strictly coincidence that I made gnudi on the NFL’s opening weekend. (A quick note to the league: Many thanks for kicking off the season with The Hochuli last Thursday night! Your female fan base was pleased, I assure you.) You see, I had planned to revisit the egg yolk ravioli I made a few months ago, only with sheep’s milk ricotta per cook eat FRET‘s suggestion, but with all of the excess moisture in the air I decided not to test my pasta-making skills in such a hostile environment. So gnudi it was! And what a happy turn of events, really.
Cuz, wow. Good stuff.
All of the recipes I found online were variations on the same basic theme — ricotta, parmiggiano-reggiano, an egg, and some flour. I figured I could work on proportions to taste, so I just winged it from there. How can you go wrong with a bowl of sheep’s milk ricotta?
Turns out, you really can’t.
I tasted as I mixed the ingredients together, adding a little more grated cheese here, some salt and pepper there to offset the addition of flour, then rolled a tablespoon of the mixture at a time into little footballish-shaped dumplings before rolling them lightly in flour. They cooked in almost no time — about 5 minutes or so in a pot of simmering, salted water. I took them out shortly after they rose to the surface and let them drain on a paper towel-lined plate while I was getting the sauce and garnishes together.
To start, I browned walnut pieces in a small pan with about 1/2 tablespoon of butter, then put the walnuts aside on a cutting board to cool. They seemed a little bland at this point, so I sprinkled them liberally with salt & black pepper and um … ate about half of them before the rest of the dish was even finished. Highly recommended.
After washing the pan (and my delicious buttery, salty fingers), I added about two tablespoons of butter and fried the sage leaves just as soon as the butter had melted and started to sizzle. By the time they were done the butter had started to brown, so I added the gnudi to the pan and cooked them for a minute or two on each side, until they’d developed a thin crust and smelled heavenly. A quick spritz of lemon juice brightened the flavors just enough so the dish didn’t feel as heavy or rich as it really was.
I only cooked six of the 30 or so gnudi I made, so I froze the uncooked ones on a baking sheet before transferring them to a plastic storage bag. Now we’ll have plenty for leftovers when we want them again, which should be in about 24 hours or so.
Of course, what I really need to do is get to The Spotted Pig to try the real deal even though mine will inevitably suffer in comparison. Hey, I’m willing to take my lumps; it’s the only way to learn.