Although it's nearing the end of April, we've had another cold front come through Chicago, so I thought I would post this comforting soup-like meal. I made it sometime this winter, and I really liked these tasty ricotta dumplings bathing in a warm Parmesan broth. This was definitely not one of Bob's favorite meals, mainly because he doesn't really like ricotta cheese. I naively thought I could change his mind :)
Giada has this meal filed under "hearty pastas" in her cookbook, Everyday Pasta, but I think a small portion could be served as a soup course at a dinner party. If you like ricotta cheese, you should give these a try!
Ricotta Gnudi in a Parmesan Broth
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Ingredients: Parmesan Broth 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Ricotta Gnudi 2 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 egg 1 egg white 2 ounces prosciutto, chopped (I omitted this) 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (or 1/2 Tablespoon dried) 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup for dredging
Directions: 1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the broth has reduced to 4 cups, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the gnudi: bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer over high heat. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, egg white, prosciutto (if using), parsley, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; mix thoroughly.
3. When the water is simmering and ready, stir the flour into the ricotta mixture. It is important not to add the flour too soon; otherwise they will become dense and gummy rather than light.
4. Shape the gnudi using 2 large soup spoons: scoop up a large spoonful of ricotta mixture into one spoon, then scoop the mixture onto the other spoon and back again, forming a three-sided oval. I have also seen these shaped into little round balls, like meatballs.
5. Drop the gnudi into the dredging flour. Form another 8 or 9 gnudi at a time, dredge in flour on all sides, and tap off the excess.
6. Slide the formed gnudi into the simmering water, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Remove the gnudi using a slotted spoon after they have floated to the top and have cooked for about 4 minutes total.
7. While the gnudi cook, create another batch of gnudi and dredge them in flour. Continue cooking and forming gnudi, transferring cooked gnudi to a platter in a single layer, until you have used all the ricotta mixture.
8. Divide the gnudi among the serving bowls. Pour the reduced broth over the gnudi. Sprinkle with a pinch of the pepper and a spoonful of grated Parmesan and serve.