According to Boston menus as of late, gnudi is the new gnocchi. I’ve been seeing them everywhere! The Sinclair’s version are especially to die. For those of you who are unfamiliar with gnudi, they are basically gnocchi but with ricotta instead of potato. Or you can think of them as ravoli, but NUDE, meaning no pasta shell. So yeah, little balls of cheese, prepared just like pasta…naturally I am obsessed.
When my brother came to town a few weeks ago we made some gnudi for ourselves. We went with a fried version, which makes the final product more of an appetizer than an entree. They are super easy to make and you can use any kind of sauce or topping you want.
This photo has nothing to do with gnudi. I just needed a snack while I made them because there is no way in hell I could hold off that long before needing to eat some cheese…
Fried Ricotta Gnudi with Spinach and Pancetta
- 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese – drained of all excess moisture
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup of all purpose flour and more as needed
- 1-2 cups semolina flour or enough to cover a baking sheet
- 1/2 lb pancetta, diced
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup olive oil and more as needed
- 1/4 cup canola oil and more as needed
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
Mix the ricotta and egg yolk, then add the all purpose flour until the dough is solid but still sticky.
Mold the dough into mini meatball sized gnudis, then place each dough on a semolina flour covered baking sheet so each ball gets completely coated with semolina.
Heat up a pot of salted water. When the water is simmering (not yet boiling) add the balls (in batches if you need to) – simmer for about a minute and a half, or until the balls rise to the top of the water.
Let the gnudi cool for a few minutes.
Heat a skillet with half olive oil, half canola oil on high (olive oil for flavor, canola provides a higher smoking point). There should be enough oil in the pan to cover about half the height of the gnudi. When oil gets hot, add the gnudi. Fry them in batches until they have a golden fried exterior.
In a different skillet, heat the diced pancetta on medium high heat until some of the fat renders out.
Add the gnudi, the spinach and salt and pepper to taste – keep in mind the gnudi might already taste salty from the salt water and pancetta. Cook together for a few minutes until spinach is wilted.
Transfer to a serving tray of some sort.
And then….Just Add Cheese! Sorry had to say it. It really does apply to everything.