Gnudi Pics



For some reason I’ve always been a bit wary of ricotta and mascarpone possibly not understanding for a long time what they are meant for, sweet or savoury or both ? I now stay away from Mascarpone as its 80% fat and impossible to stop eating. Ricotta is only 13% fat and weirdly moreish; the sour tang, the grainy texture, the neutral flavour segueing to a lactic finish.

Having watched Jamie’s Comfort Food out of one eye but not wishing to spend 14 hours producing a shepherds pie or (there are loads of US recipes for this!!) burying a lobster by mac’n’cheesing it I was delighted to learn from him how (supposedly) easy it is to make Gnudi.

An alternate spelling of nudi which is the plural of nudo and literally meaning naked/nude in italian, Gnudi are filled pasta without the pasta, a boon for the carbohydrate averse or 5:2 monkeys like me.

Like so many Italian recipes Gnudi are simple ingredients simply cooked. Ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg, salt, pepper, mixed together, made into balls and rolled in flour or polenta, left in the fridge overnight. Cooked in gently boiling water until they float and then dressed with sage brown butter or tomato sauce [secret ingredient tomato puree] . What could be easier and what go wrong ? Lots.

Firstly I chose to make them with the “animale” (my children aged 3 and 6) so they fought over the mixing and blobs of white goo flew all over the place and filling ended up everywhere; walls, windows and floor where I subsequently trod it around the house.

I explained we needed to roll the balls roughly the same size so dimensions varied from a small marble to a tennis ball. They quickly tired of this activity, my son suggested just making 1 massive ball and boiling that and having thrown polenta around the kitchen they dispersed the yellow sand throughout our abode whilst marking all available surfaces with white stuff.

The balls were duly rolled and popped into the fridge and all was well. Until cooking the next day when I dropped the first batch into gently simmering water and produced milky cheese soup. The polenta had fallen off (I realised later that I had conflated 2 recipes and should use either flour or bind with egg if using polenta).

Following a frank exchange of ideas my wife took the cooking helm and tried boiling and then frying the white mush. I took inspiration from this and foamed a large amount of butter in a pan, added the polenta coated cheese balls and shallow fried them (turning once) until crispy on all sides, added a handful of sage leaves to hide then under and served them up as fried cheese balls. As this was real life [meh] and not an episode of Masterchef we ate the outcome with minimal fuss and no-one cried or was distraught or faced their biggest challenge yet.

A plate of yellow balls remained and rather than risk the same outcome for supper I reverted to Jamie at Home (when Jamie’s food could be prepared by working parents) Stuffed peppers. Basically a Tomato & Olive salad dressed with garlic/caper/basil/oil/vinegar is stuffed into halved peppers. I was lucky enough to have some Turkish breakfast olives, the Gemklik no less!  I sealed up the filling with yellow ball mush. Microwaved to within an inch of destruction and then baked for 10 mins in a super hot oven and served on toast. As is so often the case the leftovers were better than the original.

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Italian, Recipes, Lifestyle