For Christmas this year I received a veritable culinary bible: The Silver Spoon Cookbook by Phaidon. I’ve been salivating over the many delicious recipes in there and today was my first chance to test one out.
My husband and I had the whole day at home – starting with the bread he made – and I thought I would start working up the courage to attempt gnocchi by taking what I thought would be an excellent intermediate step: gnudi. If you’ve never had gnudi, it is essentially the filling of a ravioli made into little dumplings, and it is light and unbelievably tasty when served with a nice ragu (or just with butter and cheese). I’ve only ever had it in Italian restaurants and after snickering (it is pronounced with a silent G – “nudie”) I have thoroughly enjoyed them.
Naturally I started with the cookbook’s recipe which serves 4:
2.5 pounds of spinach (I used 2 10 oz bags)
1.5 cups ricotta
2 tablespoons of parmesan
2 egg yolks
All purpose flour for dusting
salt & pepper
Saute spinach in a pan with just the water on the leaves after you wash them (so just enough to help wilt the spinach) until it is fully wilted. Transfer to a sieve and let as much water drain out of it as possible. The recipe doesn’t call for it, but I ended up wrapping it in cheesecloth and squeezing the crap out of it. Then, take the spinach, chop it and place it in a bowl. Add the ricotta – which I also allowed to drain for about 15 minutes – parmesan, egg yolks (lightly beaten), salt and pepper to taste. You are supposed to form small dumplings (see photo above) and dust them with flour.
Everything was going so well… and then…
I started a pot of salted water on the stove and when it reached a rolling boil, I dropped my little dumplings into the water. Took about, oh, 5 seconds for them to disintegrate and all the spinach to float to the top. GRRRR ! So, I am at a loss at the moment for how to fix them and better hold things together …. any and all suggestions are welcome. Maybe I could freeze them? Add more egg? More ricotta? More flour? imported I-talian grandmother?