Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's a gnudi?

Almost a month ago, I came across an interesting recipe for something called gnudi. At first I thought 'oh, I wonder if this is just some variation of gnocchi...' But all my internet sleuthing turned up very little. Searching now, there are many more pages for gnudi than there used to be.

I had... approximately zero experience making anything like this. But wasn't that the point of making this blog? To give me experience trying things. So I decided that the worst thing that could happen would be I'd end up with little dough balls that weren't delicious, and I'd have to throw them out. So I set about assembling the ingredients.

And then realized that the Harris Teeter and the Giant near me don't carry semolina flour. So I just sort of gave up on finding it, and complained to Boyfriend Bird a few times about it, until he learned that his father had semolina flour, which I happily 'borrowed.' It still took me a few days to get around to actually making them, but I was extremely nervous from reading the directions. They didn't look that complicated. Just make little cheesy balls, sit them in flour, and then boil. Pfft, if that was all pasta-making was, I could be running my own pasta shop.

It seemed so flawless at first. It smelled beautiful, and it was SO MUCH cheese. I sort of wondered about how much cheese it was as I was doing it, but I didn't worry about it. I probably should have. I also probably should have not used Kraft grated Parmesan. I will regret that for some time.

The directions said that as you combine everything, it should become light and airy. No. No it did not. I tried to whisk it for at least twenty minutes, but it just stayed... solid. I was quite concerned at this point, but figured 'well, I'll just see what happens.' I don't know WHY I didn't think to just put this on the electric mixer and let it work its magic, but apparently it didn't occur to me. So I carried on with my experiment.

The next part was easy. Stack cheese balls in flour, and let it sit in the fridge? Okay, I can do that.

It made so many more than I expected... it completely filled the biggest Tupperware container we had.

On that note, I absolutely love those things. That may sound odd, but in our house it's been nearly impossible to find matching containers and lids. Mama Bird recently bought a bunch of new containers. So now I don't have to spend half an hour trying to pack up food whenever I want to put it away. I need to start putting date labels on things, but I never remember that until I'm staring at the container four weeks later and wondering what the chances of the food still being good is.

This may be one of the few pictures I have shown on this blog I actually like. Because I took the extra five minutes to go outside, judge the light a little, and take a 'nice' picture. It's still not perfect- I know now that if I had a lamp, I could have gotten rid of that huge shadow. And maybe I could have found some construction paper to hide the road in the background. But y'know... at least I'm aware of my shortcomings.

Anyway, how did they actually taste? The site described them as little explosions of ricotta and Parmesan covered in a gentle pasta shell. To me, they tasted just like Parmesan. That was it. I could only eat two and I felt sort of ill from the amount of cheese. A complete failure, honestly. Jujyfruits Bird tried them, and he was polite about it but I think he hated them too. They sat in the fridge, with me trying them once or twice more and disliking them every time, until I just threw them away in frustration.

Not everything I cook can turn out well. I'm just glad these weren't really for anything.

Gnudi from The Paupered Chef
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 cups semolina flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 10-12 sage leaves

    1. Combine ricotta, Parmesan, eggs and yolk, nutmeg, and chives in a bowl and combine. It should be light and airy when you're finished.
    2. Fold in the flour until it's combined, until it's firm until to roll into balls.
    3. Roll the ricotta mixture into balls and place in a dish with semolina on the bottom.
    4. Arrange the balls so they aren't touching, and cover with more flour when there is no more room.
    5. Put in the fridge and leave overnight.
    6. Allow gnudi to come to room temperature and boil a pot of water.
    7. Melt butter over medium-high meat, and when it begins to brown, add sage leaves, and then remove from heat.
    8. Put gnudi in boiling water and cook until they float.
    Today's lessons learned:
    • Cheese is strong.
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