I feel like i’ve been doing a lot of talking about food and less being about it. Time to shift gears, just in time for Lucky Gnudi Day! It’s a holiday I made up just for this post, aren’t you excited?

Lucky Gnocchi Day is a real thing, which I enjoy celebrating at one of our regular spots, Piola. But a: I don’t have a potato ricer, and a good processor would bring out too much gluten in the potatoes, and b: February doesn’t have a 29th.
(Insert terrible faux Italian accent here) So instead we make Gnudi!

If you’ve never had/ heard of gnudi (pronounced Nude-y), it’s a ricotta based dumpling. Free-form, light and savory, it’s the perfect cheesy little pillow to snuggle with on a winter day.
I’ve been obsessed with spinach lately and great recipe from Giada starts us off on this adventure.

I made a few changes (are you surprised?) and ended up with this:

  • 1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, steamed
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8-10 tablespoons all-purpose flour – I added the extra flour because I thought blending instead of chopping the spinach released a lot of liquid, but i could also have used less flour and refrigerating the mixture to firm it up before cooking.

Everybody except the flour goes  for a spin in processor, then flour gets folded in. Make a makeshift pastry bag from a ziplock  (or generic zip-top sandwich bag, I don’t judge) by snipping the end off of one corner and use a knife to cut dumplings in salted water at a rolling boil. Remove when they float to top, 3-4 minutes.

I was surprised at how quick this was once I got the hang of it.  Next time I wait 16 minutes for dried store bought  pasta to boil to al dente, I’ll remember that I could have had fresh and homemade in the same amount of time.

Now to contemplate enhancements.
Fresh: Pan sauté with bread crumbs, panko if available. Toss with caramelized onion, red peppers, and fresh mozzarella.
The bread crumbs and and peppers add texture, and the onion and mozz add a mild sweetness to cut through the salt of the dumpling.

Creamy:  Gorgonzola Sauce
Sweat 1/2 cup of diced onion in butter and white wine. Mario calls for grappa but the natural sugars of the onion with whatever wine you have on hand should be sufficient; I used chardonnay. Reduce until most of the liquid is gone. Add milk and crumbled Gorgonzola (or any other blue cheese), melting over low-medium heat and whisking until you have a smooth uniform sauce.  Reduce by half until it lightly coats whisk or spoon, then add gnudi and toss. Substitutions: Chardonnay for Grappa. Coconut milk for heavy cream.

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Overall, I had fun. I’m very pleased with the flavors and textures, and happy to have another “fresh food fast” option in my arsenal. Plus, cheese dumplings with cheese sauce? Ohhh yessss…..