Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lemon and Garlic Ricotta Gnudi with Basil Brown Butter

If you have never made pasta before and even if you have, this is definitely one to try. Gnudi is similar to gnocchi, but tends to be more tender. The outside gets slightly firm with a touch of chewiness, while the center is light and creamy. You can make this pasta the day before, just let it come to room temperature before cooking. Add a light sauce, even just a little good quality olive oil, salt and pepper and you are golden. Serve with a salad and a light dessert, and you have a flavorful and filling dish without being overly heavy like some pasta dishes can be.

Lemon and Garlic Gnudi
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus 90 minutes resting time

Cook time: 10 minutes or less

Serves: 2 good sized portions or 4 smaller servings/appetizers


1 cup fresh ricotta

5 cloves roasted garlic - mashed
1 1/2 tsp fresh grated lemon zest

Large pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 eggs plus 1 yolk

½ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
¾ cup white flour – sifted - plus more as needed

4 cups semolina flour

Line a small cake pan or deep dish pan with just enough semolina flour to coat the bottom - set aside.
Add garlic and all remaining ingredients except for the flour into the ricotta cheese. Whisk together until fluffy and ingredients are well blended.

Gently fold in white flour until a soft dough forms, adding more flour as needed until dough is just thick enough to form soft balls. Use floured hands and gently roll into small balls (no bigger than the size of a quarter), slightly flatten with fingers. Gently place pasta into semolina flour in one single layer. Pour enough semolina flour over pasta to completely cover. Place a sheet of parchment paper or tin foil over the layer then start another, adding more semolina flour and covering the pasta in the same manner.

Once you have made all the pasta, gently cover dish with saran wrap and place in fridge for at least one hour, but up to 24 hours. When ready to cook pasta, remove from fridge and let rest for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature or close to.gently remove pasta from flour. You can reuse the remaining flour, just pour back into bag, though you may need to sift first to remove any lumps.

Start to make your butter sauce while you are boiling the water. Recipe below.

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil, add a large pinch of salt and gently place pasta into water using a slotted spoon. Cook just until pasta starts to float to the top, removing them with a slotted spoon as soon as they float to the surface - about 2 minutes. Place in a large serving dish and cover until sauce is ready.

Basil and Brown Butter Sauce

Prep time: less than five minutes

Cook Time: 5-10 minutes


6 tbs unsalted butter

1/4 tsp salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

2 tbs fresh basil, plus additional for topping - finely chopped

Fresh grated parmesan cheese - if desired

In a medium sized sauce pan, melt butter on medium heat. Stirring frequently to prevent burning - adjust heat as needed. Butter should start to rapidly bubble and turn a light golden brown - about 3-4. Turn heat to low and add basil. Cook for 30 seconds, then quickly remove from heat pour over gnudi and gently toss. Top with additional basil and parmesean cheese if desired. Enjoy!! :)

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