For a long time, I had no idea what to do with leftover ricotta cheese. I would buy a container, use a few spoonfuls of it on a pizza, then pull it out of the fridge several months later and recoil in horror at the scary pink color it had turned. Recently, I decided I needed to correct this problem. With a mostly-full container in the fridge, I set out find a recipe that required a large amount of ricotta. And that is when I discovered gnudi. If you like gnocchi but have little-to-no patience, gnudi is for you. Instead of peeling, chopping, boiling, and mashing potatoes and then waiting for them to cool before you actually get to the pasta-making part, you just mix together ricotta, flour, parmesan, and a couple other things. In less than 10 minutes, you have pasta dough. Just roll it out, cut it up, and throw it in a pot of boiling water. You could stop there, but pan-frying makes them even better. Aside from the deliciousness that brown butter will impart onto anything it touches, the frying gives the gnudi a nice, crisp outer texture. I think mushrooms compliment the pasta wonderfully, but feel free to add whatever you want—they’re versatile!
Pan-Fried Gnudi with Brown Butter & Mushrooms
(adapted from Gourmet via Epicurious)
yield: 4 servings
- 2 cups (16 oz.) of ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cups of freshly-grated parmesan cheese
- 1 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ cup (1 stick) of butter
- 12 oz. of white or crimini mushrooms, sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
At this point, I like to put the bowl of dough in the fridge for 15–20 minutes. I find that cold dough is less sticky, and therefore easier to work with. In the meantime, slice mushrooms and saute in a little bit of butter, until mushrooms just begin to brown and soften. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove dough from fridge. Grab a fistful of dough and place on a well-floured surface. Roll out to form 1-inch thick ropes, then cut into pieces.
Place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat. While you wait for it to boil, roll out and cut up the rest of the gnudi. Once the water is boiling, add in half of the pasta. While they cook, brown half of the butter in a pan. When the gnudi are puffy (this will take around 4 minutes) transfer them to the pan with a slotted spoon.
Fry gnudi until browned, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate or large bowl. Repeat process with the second half of the pasta. Once the second batch is browned, add the first batch and the mushrooms to the pan, and stir until evenly warmed. Remove from heat and serve!