Italian food is one of the most loved around the world! I wanted to try making an Italian dish that I had never tried before. I found this recipe for gnudi on the BBC website. It is very simple, although there is some waiting time for the gnudi to chill overnight. The gnudi remind me of dumplings but there is no flour, only cheese as the main dough. The semolina dries out and makes a crust around the cheese.
Finally, the topping of browned butter with sage has an amazing, aromatic taste. It combines well with the toasted pine nuts. The gnudi are fairly heavy so I would suggest serving them with salad or vegetables on the side.
350g good-quality ricotta
25g parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
1 egg yolk
225g fine semolina or semolina flour
Handful of small sage leaves (roughly chop if you have large leaves)
1 heaped tbsp pine nuts , toasted
Salt and white pepper to taste
If you can buy nicer ricotta from an Italian deli then that will be tastier. You may also need to drain the liquid from it. First, line a sieve with a piece of muslin or cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Tip the ricotta into the cloth, gently gather up the ends and secure with an elastic band. Leave the ricotta to drain for about 2 hours.
Next, transfer the drained ricotta to a clean bowl. Beat in the parmesan cheese, egg yolk, grated nutmeg, then season well with salt and white pepper. Pour the semolina into a large plastic container and set aside.
Then wet your hands, dip them in the semolina and, working quickly, scoop 1 heaped tsp of the ricotta mix into your hands and gently roll into a ball. Place the ball in the semolina dish and roll it around so that it is totally covered. Pick it up and roll between the palms of your hands to create a smooth ball, then put it back into the semolina. Continue with the rest of the mixture. The mixture should make about 24 balls. Once all the balls are formed and are sitting in the semolina, cover loosely with baking parchment (not cling film), put the dish in the fridge and leave to chill overnight.
When ready to serve the next day, bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Turn down to a simmer and lower in half of the gnudi. Cook gently for 2-3 mins. When they float to the top, gently scoop them out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a sieve. Repeat with the remaining gnudi. In the meantime, melt the butter over medium-low heat in a small frying pan. Add the sage leaves and let them sizzle until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Cook the butter until it is lightly browned. Divide the gnudi between plates, and drizzle with browned butter. Finally, top with the sage and pine nuts and serve immediately.
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