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Gnudi with tomato sauce
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Pronounced ‘nude-y’, these light ricotta dumplings are effectively ‘naked’ ravioli – the filling without the pasta – while also bearing a resemblance to gnocchi. To save time, swap the tomato sauce for a simple sage butter or make a speedy salsa verde.
Make these classic dumplings in advance: they need at least 8 hours’ chilling and will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days
250g ricotta cheese
75g parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
¼ whole nutmeg, grated
extra virgin olive oil, to serve
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks roughly chopped
½ x 25g pack basil, leaves and stalks separated
½ x 25g pack parsley, leaves and stalks separated
½ x 20g pack rosemary
3 bay leaves
400g can plum tomatoes
½ tsp pure clear honey
1. Start the gnudi the day before. Briefly drain the ricotta in a sieve, then mix with the parmigianoreggiano and nutmeg in a bowl; season with salt, if needed. Spread ½ the semolina over a baking tray. Dust your hands with a little of the remaining semolina and shape the ricotta mixture into 20 small balls (about 2.5cm in diameter); add them to the tray as you go. Scatter over the remaining semolina, making sure the balls are evenly coated. Chill, uncovered, for at least 8 hours or ideally 24 hours, gently turning the gnudi in the semolina every now and then. (The gnudi can be prepared up to 3 days in advance).
2. For the sauce, heat the oil in a pan and cook the garlic cloves over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until golden. Add the vegetables and cook until starting to soften – about 5-7 minutes. Throw in the herbs (reserve some of the soft leaves to garnish) and cook for 2 minutes. Tip in the tomatoes, breaking them up slightly, then half-fill the can with water and add to the pan. Simmer briskly for 10-12 minutes, until thickened. Sieve into a clean pan, pushing as much tomato through as possible; season and stir in the honey. Simmer gently for a few minutes more to thicken, if needed.
3. To cook the gnudi, carefully lower them into a pan of salted boiling water; you may need to do this in batches. Simmer briskly for 2-3 minutes, until they rise to the surface. Transfer to plates with a slotted spoon; allow 5 per person. Spoon over the sauce, scatter with the reserved herbs and finish with a splash more oil.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in April 2015.