Naked

Naked

Have you tried gnudi yet? It has been super popular in New York for last few years but it originally comes from Tuscany, Italy. Gnudi means naked, and quite simply this is a ricotta ravioli without the pasta (aka naked).  These creamy creations are deceptively light and usually served with simple sauces and fresh ingredients. Now it is the perfect season to add fresh herbs straight from the farmers’ market to your gnudi tonight!

For the gnudi

750 g good-quality ricotta

50 g parmesan cheese

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

250 g semolina flour

For the fresh pesto

1/2 clove of garlic , peeled and crushed

large bunch of fresh basil , leaves picked (about50g)

25 g pine nuts

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

50 g Parmesan , finely grated

 

Method:

  1. Make pesto. Bash the garlic in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt. Add the basil leaves and pine nuts and pound to a coarse paste. Muddle in the extra virgin olive oil and stir in the Parmesan, adding a splash of water if you like it a little runnier, then continue bashing and pounding until smooth. Have a taste and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Line a sieve with a piece of muslin or a new J-cloth 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 4 hrs.
  3. Transfer the drained ricotta to a clean bowl. Beat in the hard cheese, egg yolk, a good grating of nutmeg, then season well. Tip the semolina into a baking dish or large plastic container. 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 (don’t worry if it’s not perfect). Place the ball in the semolina dish and roll around so that it is totally covered. Pick it up and roll between the palms of your hands to create a smooth ball, then pop back into the semolina. Continue with the rest of the mixture. You 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 for at least 12 hrs, although 24 hrs is better – this is so the balls of ricotta form a skin around the outside.
  4. When ready to serve, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and lower in half the gnudi. Cook gently for 2-3 mins – they’re ready when they float to the top – then scoop out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a sieve. Repeat with the remaining gnudi.
  5. Divide the gnudi between warmed plates, drizzle over the pesto, top with the fresh basil leaves and pine nuts, and serve with grated cheese and black pepper.

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