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Monday
Apr152013

Gnudi with Pomodoro

Very rarely do I have dinner parties. It is a combination of working all the time, cooking for a living, and above all still being young! This past week both of my parents were informed that they had won the Charles C. Keller Excellence Award for Corporate Philanthropy for their 20 plus years of giving to Washington County charities and non-profit organizations, so of course I had to honor this prestigious award with a home cooked meal. The downside to this, other than cooking on my day off, is that every single person invited had different food allergies and diet requirements. That eliminated red meat, fish, shellfish and pork and if I am trying to impress anyone I do not necessarily make chicken. So the only option I had left was pasta, but who honestly wants to do a plain pasta dish for a congratulatory dinner? I had gnudi (nyoo-dee) years ago from a Chef I worked for with spinach, pancetta, and red potato skins. It was delicious, but a little more involved than I could be while entertaining 6 people. A great Chef told me years ago, keep it simple and let the ingredients do the talking. So of course I kept it simple with a pomodoro sauce.

Serves 6

Gnudi Ingredients:

1lb Ricotta Cheese, Whole Milk

1 Whole Egg, Beaten

1 Egg Yolk, Beaten

½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 tsp Ground Black Pepper

1 Tbsp Kosher Salt

1 Cup Flour

Pomodoro Sauce Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Minced Fresh Garlic

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1oz Basil, Stemmed and Finely Minced

½ tsp Ground White Pepper

1 tsp Kosher Salt

1 Pinch Crushed Red Pepper

There are a plethora of different gnudi recipes out there for you to try, but this is the one that worked for my Italian/Irish group. If you happen to use the Italian Ricotta (very expensive here in the states) then the gnudi will be slightly sweeter, but the American version is a lot more common and slightly less flavorful which is what I had on hand. Stay away from smoked or salted, it will alter the flavor away from what you will want.

In a large bowl with a whisk or a mixer beat the eggs until fully mixed, then add the ricotta. It will immediately start to thin out and clump slightly. Add the pepper, parmesan cheese and salt and continue to mix until full incorporated. Slowly add the flour about 1/8th cup at a time and wait until the flour is completely mixed in. Once you reach 3/4ths cup of flour, check the consistency for perfection. Many gnudi recipes tell you to make sure it is no longer sticky like noodle dough, I disagree completely. The finished product should have the same consistency as gnocchi. When you place a finger on the mixture and remove it there should be a medium amount stuck to your finger. If it is too thin, slowly add more flour checking the consistency each time. Put a 10qt pot of water on high with 2 tsp of salt and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Once the mixture is perfect, line a sheet pan with flour and grab two spoons. With one spoon scoop the mixture, and with the other scrap it into the shape of a football. Drop the ball onto the flour and roll to evenly coat. Once all the dough balls are rolled you can start the pomodoro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a medium pot cook the garlic in the olive oil over medium low heat. Once the garlic is translucent and not browned, add the diced tomatoes, basil, kosher salt, white pepper and crushed red pepper. Bring to a low simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by 1/4th. Once the sauce is done, place on a low heat and begin to drop the gnudi into the boiling water for 6 minutes each batch. I normally toss about 20 at a time in, once they are done cooking remove with a slotted spoon and place into the sauce.

When all the gnudi are done and placed in the sauce, serve. There you have it. A flavorful and honestly simple dish that is guaranteed to impress any dinner guest. Mangia!

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