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Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's Cold and Wet Outside, Let's Get Gnudi

I woke up to a miserable day in front of me. I drew open my bedroom drapes only to find most of the leaves that hung on the tree in front of our house had fallen overnight and wrapped our car in a soggy auburn blanket. Rain lashed at our windows and the wind howled and shook the remaining leaves from the trees. Today was not a day to venture outside but to hide away from the world with a cozy rustic lunch.

Pumpkins and autumn go hand in hand. When I walk down our street and see all the pumpkins sitting on our neighbors' porches, I think about pumpkin in all its delicious edible forms: pie, soup, ravioli, muffins, risotto, etc. I had have a craving for pumpkin ravioli these days but I was not in the right frame of mind to wring out my own pasta or run out and even pick some up.... today was the day I made a meal out of the contents from my fridge. After a quick perusal, I decided I could make pumpkin gnudi (pronounced: nude-y) instead.

Gnudi is an Italian dish very similar to gnocchi with the exception of one key ingredient: fresh ricotta instead of potato. The difference is all texture: instead of a dense, hearty bite of a gnocchi, a gnudi is a light and pillowy cloud. Think of it as ravioli filling without the pasta exterior. It is delicious and light tasting but is quite filling and satisfying especially on a rainy autumn day.

Pumpkin Gnudi with Brown Butter

Serves 4 as a side or 6 as an appetizer
1 lb fresh ricotta
2 large eggs
1.5c packed pumpkin
1 c freshly grated parmesan* (plus more for garnish)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground sage
1.5c all purpose flour

1/4 c unsalted butter

Mix ricotta with eggs and pumpkin, parmesan, salt, nutmeg, and sage until fully incorporated and batter is a soft orange colour. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. (Keep in mind that you will be cooking this in salted water.)

Add flour bit by bit & stir until batter is firm but not stiff. (You may need to add more flour, if necessary.)

In a pot of boiling salted water, spoon batter into water. Though time-consuming, I usually test the first one for flavour and make any adjustments before I proceed further. With the incorporation of flour, the flavours sometimes fade and only through cooking will you know for sure.

Continue to add gnudis, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Resist against making large drops into the water. (I found the larger the gnudi, the longer the cooking time and it is certainly possible that the gnudi is not fully cooked, resulting in a floury, pasty taste.) The gnudi takes only several minutes to cook (allow it to float to the top and allow for another two minutes or so.) Drain well.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat until it butter turns into a nutty brown colour. Carefully add drained gnudi to the pan and toss gently. Cook for another five minutes until crisp on the outside.

Garnish with parmesan shavings and serve immediately.


Lindsey@pickyeatings said...

I've never heard of this creation before, but I love gnocchi, so I bet I would love this as well!

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