My new business partner, Francille van Tiddens, recently sent me a recipe for ricotta gnudi via Bon Appetit’s online magazine. I’ll reveal more about our exciting new venture soon – Francille is an absolute food fanatic and she is constantly trawling the international online food scene for great recipes and interesting reads. “Gnudi”? I asked. It’s like gnocchi, she said, but larger, and made with lots and lots of ricotta cheese. And you pronounce it “nu-dee”.
It sounded like something right up my street. Italian comfort food, made with ricotta, Parmesan, eggs and a touch of flour, smothered in a bright red tomato sauce. I had to try it.
So I made it for my husband on Valentines Day as part of our wedding anniversary dinner. It was simply out of this world! Just a few basic ingredients, yet so striking on a plate and just meltingly delicious. It contains very little flour, so the trick is to shape the large gnudi balls with 2 large spoons. You place all of them on a big floured tray, then boil them like gnocchi in a large pot of salted water for just a few minutes.
This is probably my best food find of the past year. Gnudi. Nu-dee. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
Note: Use the best quality ricotta and Parmesan that you can get your hands on.
Ingredients for pomodoro sauce: (Tip: make the sauce first, then the gnudi)
(recipe adapted from www.bonappetit.com)
- 2 cans whole peeled Italian tomatoes
- 60 ml olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
- Process tomatoes to a smooth pulp.
- Heat oil in a saucepan on the stove top. Add garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes over low heat – don’t let it become too brown, because it will be bitter.
- Add the smooth tomatoes, sugar, and salt, then simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside.
Ingredients for gnudi:
(recipe from www.bonappetit.com)
- 450-500g ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano Reggiano, or Grana Padano) plus more for serving
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour plus more
Mix ricotta, egg, egg yolk, salt, pepper, and parmesan in a large bowl until well combined. Add flour and stir just until combined and mixture forms a ball (mixture will be soft and moist with some bits of ricotta remaining; add a tablespoonful or 2 more if it feels too wet).
Dust a rimmed baking tray generously with flour. Using 2 large dessert spoons, shape heaped tablespoonfuls of dough into football shapes, then place on the floured tray and dust with more flour (you should have about 30).
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
Carefully add the gnudi, then cook for 4-5 minutes until cooked through and tender (gnudi will quickly float to the surface; continue cooking or they will be gummy in the center).
Using a slotted spoon, remove gnudi from water and divide among bowls. Top with pomodoro sauce and more parmesan cheese.
This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.
Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.
Photography: Tasha Seccombe.
Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe and Ilse van der Merwe.