I keep wanting to make gnocchi, but something about it seems very difficult. Something about the potato and starch and glutens and, I think, also, Tom Colicchio always completely railing anyone on Top Chef anytime they make it that it is “heavy” and “doughy” and “tough” and even “inedible”. As opposed to what they should be – light, fluffy, pillowy. So, I was reading this month’s Food and Wine and came across a recipe for Gnudi last weekend, and I thought, “Aha! This is it! This is my bridge to gnocchi!” Gnocchi’s base is normally roasted potatoes that have been put through a ricer, flour, and egg; gnudi’s is ricotta, flour, and egg. They become dumpling-like, and then you boil them and then toss them in whatever you have created to go with them. My creation is below.
Ricotta Gnudi with Oyster Mushrooms, Fresh Peas, and Bacon
- 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan, plus more for serving (ideally Parmigiano-Reggiano)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- All purpose flour
Mushrooms and Peas
- 1 pound oyster mushrooms, roughly torn into large pieces
- 1 cup fresh peas, blanched (used frozen if you don’t have fresh, but no need to blanch frozen ones)
- 4 slices bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
- 1/2 stick butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1/2 cup reserved cooking water from gnudi
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup of Parm, the egg, butter, and nutmeg. Sprinkle 1 cup of flour over the ricotta mixture and fold in. Dust the dough with more flour and shape into a ball. (If seems really sticky – like too sticky – mix in more flour). On a floured surface roll the dough out to a rope and cut it into 36-ish pieces. (I split it into 2 balls and made two ropes and then cut it)
In large pot of boiling salted water, boil the gnudi until tender and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Drain, reserving a cup of cooking liquid.
In the meantime, make the mushroom-bacon sauce. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium until brown and crisped. Drain and set bacon aside. In a large skillet, heat some olive oil (about 1/4 cup should do) over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute. Add the bacon and about 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking water. Mix well until water reduces to about 1/4 cup. Turn heat down to medium, and start adding butter. Add two chunks butter and stir until melted into sauce. Add 2 last nubs of butter and mix into sauce. Taste for any final seasoning. Add Gnudi and toss to coat, adding just a bit of cooking water if sauce seems too dry. Serve and pass extra grated Parm alongside.