Gnudi alla Fiorentina
Pasta is my love language – it’s my comfort food, and the process of making it from scratch is therapeutic. When I have a slow afternoon I’ll task myself with making the dough, rolling and shaping it and popping it in the fridge for a couple of days if not used immediately.
Gnudi “nude” is all of those things; comforting, therapeutic and it’s decadently delicious. Made from ricotta, heaps of finely grated pecorino cheese, and seasoned with nutmeg, herbs and if you like, swiss chard or spinach (gotta get some greens in there!). Gnudi is a naked ravioli, or a ricotta dumpling.
This is a special occasion dish – one to make for an intimate dinner of six or less. The simple brown butter sauce with sage amplifies the richness of the Gnudi without overpowering the delicate texture and subtle flavor of the pasta. One can truly only enjoy a few of these dumplings especially if served as a “primi” or first course.
all units: U.S. Imperial
For the Dough
- 454 g / 1 lb swiss chard
- 522 g / 2 ¼ c fresh ricotta
- 2 egg yolks
- 150 g / 1 ⅔ c finely grated pecorino
- 1 lemon zested
- ½ tsp salt, more as needed
- Pinch of nutmeg, more as needed
- 116 g / 1 c “00” flour, more for dusting
- 6 egg whites
- Semolina flour for dusting
For the Sauce
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 handful sage leaves
- Flaky sea salt to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg to taste
To Make the Gnudi Dough
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and prepare an ice bath. Cut off the tough stems and veins from the swiss chard and blanch it for 30 seconds (working in batches if you need) and immediately chill in the ice bath. Drain and lay the leaves out on a clean dish towel, roll and squeeze until the liquid is released. Repeat with a second dry towel. Next, finely chop the swiss chard and set aside.
Whip the ricotta in a food processor until silky smooth and looks like icing. Then in a large mixing bowl place mix the ricotta, egg yolks, pecorino cheese, lemon zest, pinch of salt and nutmeg. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed, 3-5 minutes.
Sprinkle the 00 flour into the ricotta mixture. Working in batches, fold the egg whites into the ricotta mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
To shape the gnudi, dust a work surface with 00 flour, as well as your hands. Shape the gnudi using a small spring scoop, or two spoons. The spring scoop and rolling the dough into a sphere is easier, the two spoon method is a back-up. Shape into spheres or mounds, and dust with semolina flour and refrigerate again for at least one hour and up to overnight.
To Make the Gnudi “alla Fiorentina”
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, once boiling, reduce the heat so the water is not a tumbling boil. Add the gnudi to the water and cook for about 1 minute, once they float, continue to cook for another 30 seconds. Remove carefully using a spider strainer.
Melt the butter in small saucepan, add the sage. The butter will foam and have a nutty fragrance, remove from the heat and drizzle over the gnudi and add a few crispy sage leaves. Garnish with a pinch of nutmeg, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper, grate additional parmigianno reggiano if desired (always). Serve immediately.