Monday, November 22, 2010

Ricotta Gnudi (yeah, I laugh at the pronunciation too)

DB~ and I have been together nearly 2 years, but she still is revealing interesting little facets to me. It's her off-handed manner of these reveals that I find most enjoyable. Not all are earth-shattering; some are rather mundane, like the one a couple of weeks ago we she says unprovoked "I really like the taste of ricotta cheese".

This from a half-Italian that doesn't like red sauce on her pasta (can't trust someone who doesn't like red sauce, right?). Since I love to cook for her, I wanted to find an interesting way to incorporate ricotta cheese into a dish.

Enter the gnudi (pronounced "nude-e").

I hear about it as an alternative to gnocchi, which I like but can be a little heavy at times. I looked online for recipes for gnudi and it seemed relatively easy to make. Here's the recipe that I used this past weekend:

15 oz container of ricotta cheese
1 egg
3/4 cup of flour
1/2 cup of parm cheese
Enough chopped spinach to make it look good (very scientific)
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper

Mix all of these ingredients together in a bowl. Then take small golf ball sized balls out and roll them into a log shape. Alternatively, you can take the whole ball from the mixing bowl and roll it into a huge 1-inch diameter log and chop it into segments.

Regardless, I got about 10-12 logs out of this recipe. Roll them lightly in flour on a board and then drop them into a stockpot of boiling water. Cook them for 4 minutes until they float to the surface. Take them out individually with a slotted spoon.

I served them with a basil-cream sauce:
1 cup of heavy cream
Handful of shredded basil
2 tbsp of flour to thicken
Salt, pepper to taste
1 tsp of garlic

I heated this up on medium heat until the sauce thickened and served it hot over the drained gnudi.

DB~ whipped up a baked brie for us (and we had a somewhat standard bagged salad) to go with the meal. The baked brie was pretty simple to make:
1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted
1 8 oz wheel of brie
Blackberry jelly

She spread the jelly in the center of the unfolded pastry sheet, in a circle the same size as the diameter of the brie. The brie was place on top of the jelly and baked for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Let it cool for a few minutes to solidify the brie a little bit.

DB~ was awesome in the kitchen this weekend at my family's vacation home. She really put something extra into her kitchen skills. Not sure exactly what, can't put my finger on it, but I just wanted to say thank you.

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