This recipe dates back about five years and was buried in my file. I made it once years ago and recall it being delicious and easy. After successfully making it again the other night, I would say this recipe is definitely a keeper.
You may be unfamiliar with gnudi, I consider it a sibling to the more renown gnocchi. While gnocchi is made with cooked mashed potatoes, gnudi is made with ricotta cheese. Distinctly lighter than gnocchi, gnudi is easy to make because it doesn’t require cooking potatoes, just a container of fresh ricotta cheese.
Making gnudi also requires a gentle hand, you don’t want to over mix the dough. When adding the flour to the ricotta mixture, be sure to stir until just combined. Likewise, as you roll out the dough into ropes, be sure not to overwork the dough. It will become a sticky mess.
My final advice is resist the urge to overcook the gnudi. Cooking gnudi is not like boiling pasta, it is simply a matter of poaching the dough in simmering water. The gnudi should firm, little dumplings.
Gnudi with Tomatoes and Marjoram
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 C finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
2 t melted butter, plus 4 T chilled butter
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 C flour, plus more for dusting
1 large shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
pinch dried chili flakes
4 T olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 C fresh marjoram leaves, roughly chopped
Bring pot of salted water to boil. Make gnudi dough: mix together ricotta, parmesan, egg, melted butter and nutmeg. Stir in flour until just combined.
Set large sauté pan over medium heat. Melt chilled butter, add olive oil. Sauté shallot, garlic and chili flakes until translucent, about 3 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high and add tomatoes. Simmer until tomatoes begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Smash some tomatoes to add texture to sauce. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer.
Meanwhile, roll out gnudi. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 1 inch-thick ropes. Dust with extra flour to prevent sticking. Cut ropes into 1 inch chunks. Turn water down to a simmer. Poach gnudi in simmering water until they float to the top, about 4 minutes. Remove gnudi with a slotted spoon into the pan with the sauce. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook until the sauce is shiny and clings to the gnudi, 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the marjoram and divide among 4 plates. Serve with grated parmesan on top.