Chosen Bites: Spring awakening

Easy to make and a good do-ahead dish, Gnudi are light as a feather Italian dumplings.

Spinach and cheese Gnudi (photo credit: Laura Frankel)
Spinach and cheese Gnudi
(photo credit: Laura Frankel)
The word dumpling and descriptions such as light as a feather rarely come together. Most dumplings are dense with a belly-busting texture and gut wrenching heaviness. This can be a good thing during the winter months when you want something substantial on your plate and in your tummy. But when the sun is bright and the breeze is warm, I want lots of flavor, but in lighter and cloud-like texture.
Italian Dumplings to the rescue. Savory and practically floating off your plate, Gnudi (pronounced noo-dee) are like the filling inside cheesy delicious ravioli, only without the pasta. Gnudi get right to the point.
Easy to make and a good do-ahead dish, Gnudi can be served with your favorite sauce, sautéed vegetables or with just a drizzle of melted butter and a sprinkling of cheese.
Spinach and cheese Gnudi
Serves 4-5
450 grams cow's milk ricotta, drained in a strainer for at least 2 hours
1/4 cup spinach, sautéed, all liquid squeezed out and finely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons panko style breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch grated nutmeg
2 egg yolks
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
Olive oil, for coating
3 tablespoons melted butter, for re-heating
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnishing
1. Mix the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, flour, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and eggs together.
2. Make two small balls and test cook by placing them in boiling water until they float, then shock in iced water. Taste. If they are too soft and don't hold together, add more flour or breadcrumbs and test again.
3. Portion all of the Gnudi and with moist hands, gently roll into balls. Cook in boiling water until they float, about two minutes, and shock in iced water. Coat in olive oil and reserve until ready to serve. The Gnudi can be stored, covered in the refrigerator for up to two days. They can also be frozen for 1 month.
4. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the gnudi and gently sauté until heated through. Serve with parmesan cheese.
Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering and author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.