Read part 1 to learn how to make gnudi. It’s a 3 day process that takes literally 5 minutes, if that makes any sense.
I thought a nice, robust mushroom cream sauce would be the most appropriate for the creamy dumplings, so I picked up some local shitake and crimini mushrooms as well as a pack of porcini mushrooms, which make a great stock when reconstituted in boiling water.
(To reconstitute the porcini, boil 8 oz of water and soak 14 grams or so of porcini in it off the heat for 15 minutes).
To make the sauce, sweat two shallots in a wide pan along with some olive oil.
Slice the fresh mushrooms into half centimeter slices. Add to the shallots with some salt and pepper, and cook until tender.
Deglaze with about half of a cup of Merlot.
Then, remove the porcini from the broth and roughly chop. Add to the mushroom mixture. Add the broth to the pot and reduce by half.
Get the gnudi ready. To do this, just shake off the excess semolina from each. LIGHTLY!
Add some cream to the sauce to lighten it, and reduce until it reaches a slightly thickened consistency.
Get a large pot of water boiling and reduce to a bare simmer. Set a timer for exactly two minutes.
Drop the gnudi in the simmering water and hit the timer.
At the end of the two minutes, immediately remove the gnudi. (This works best if you have a spider that can pick up all of them at the same time.) You’ll notice that, after cooked, each looks like cream of wheat wrapped around a cheesy dumpling. Well that’s basically what you made.
I like to peel my cheese over dishes like this for a rustic look.
To plate, arrange the gnudi over a warmed plate, add some mushrooms and some of the broth around the gnudi, taking care to be gentile with the gnudi. Add some of the cheese on top.
And there you have it!
Like I said, these are like the interior of ravioli coated in cream of wheat instead of pasta. They’re very delicate, and the quality of the ricotta will dictate the final product. The only thing used to flavor the gnudi (besides the salt) is the cheese, so a good flavorful cheese will take you a long way. I like the sharpness of Moliterno, but parmesan would work just as well, maybe better as it’s more mild and would allow the ricotta to take the main stage.
My sauce was ok. I went a little heavy handed on the salt, and the salty cheese put it way over the top. Ohh well. I don’t mind stuff that’s over-salted. The sauce was very rich, and the mushroom flavor was intense. The mushrooms I used also had a great chewy texture that worked great with the heavenly gnudi.
I’m definitely adding gnudi to my regular recipes. They’re versatile and extremely easy to prepare.
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