I just looked back on my blog and realized that I hadn’t posted anything since I posted the bologna cake I made to celebrate a good friend’s birthday back in early December. A lot has happened since December 10th when I posted that and I need to get back on my blog and share my food adventures. I subscribe to several food magazines, enjoy watching cooking shows (especially Top Chef and the Chew), and I have way too many cookbooks. Recently I watched an episode of the Chew where Michael Symon made Gnudi with brown butter and sage and I decided I had to make them. I told my good friend Jane about them and she decided she had to make them too!! Gnudi is basically a ravioli without the pasta. The semolina flour that you roll them in forms a skin so you basically end up with cheesy, buttery goodness. On television they looked really simple. They whipped them up in like 15 minutes! And everyone was smiling and wide eyed and ooohed and aaahed as they ate them. We all love things with only a few simple ingredients and no complicated instructions, right? Well. I would not recommend Gnudi! But I’m still going to share the recipe, the process, and ultimately the edible outcome.
1 pound whole milk ricotta
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
3/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1 pound semolina flour
For the brown butter:
1/2 cup butter
So here, at the very beginning, is where Michael Symon’s instructions have me scratching my head. He says to drain the excess liquid from the ricotta by putting it in a fine mesh colander or on paper towel. As instructed, I put my whole milk ricotta in a mesh strainer.
NOTHING. There is no excess liquid. There is no liquid at all. Michael must get special ricotta not available to me here in Michigan’s wilderness. So okay. Mine has been pre-drained. Next I shredded my Parmesan cheese, separated an egg and mixed the cheeses and egg together along with some fresh grated nutmeg.
For the record Michael did not add an egg yolk. I decided to do that since apparently I had some very dry ricotta. Once the cheeses are mixed cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Then, using a small scoop, form the cheese mixture into balls and gently toss in a bowl of semolina flour. Remember, the semolina flour is supposed to form a “skin” or faux pasta on the gnudi.
Line a 9×13 pan with a layer of semolina flour and put your balls in the pan to rest. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight or up to three days. Rotate the balls a few times.
Day one, after resting uncovered overnight.
Put up a large kettle of salted water and bring it to a gentle boil. Lower the gnudi ever so carefully into the water and remove them with a slotted spoon once they float to the top. Well. They floated to the top but then quickly disintegrated into mush and I was left with a gnudi the size of a small marble. Fail.
Day two, after resting uncovered 24 hours.
More disintegrated gnudi mush. Fail.
Day three, after resting a generous 36 hours.
The gnudi finally came out of the water intact. Success!
I immediately set them into the brown butter with sage leaves and basted them.
We had our first edible sample. After all the anticipation, on a scale of 1-10, I would rate them a 4. I can’t imagine making a meal of these.
So I still had about 20 gnudi balls and I need to rethink this. I happen to have wonton wrappers in the refrigerator so I decided to try cutting the balls in half and making them into ravioli.
Those cooked up beautifully. Once they floated to the top I transferred them to the brown sage butter and basted them.
Much better. But in this house we like things with tomato sauce much better.
Day 4, after resting 48 hours uncovered.
I made a red sauce with mushrooms, onion, garlic and pepper. I cut the gnudi balls in half and made up a nice batch of ravioli.
I served them up with the red sauce and we devoured them. This was the best use of the gnudi. At least in this house.
I’m happy to have finally put these ingredients to good use. Throwing away all that good cheese just seemed wrong. Will I ever make gnudi again? I will not. I will make ravioli again and, quite honestly, the wonton wrappers worked great! Almost as good as homemade pasta but a lot less work.
NOTE: Save the rinds from the Parmesan cheese to use in soups and sauces. They add great flavor!
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