Sometimes I get a request from a reader that leads me to discovering a new dish. For instance malloreddus pasta with fennel and sausage, now one of my favorite pasta dishes. This time it was Himeros who requested my take on basil-ricotta gnudi. These are the Tuscan name for nude ravioli, or ravioli filling that are not surrounded by pasta. In other parts of (Northern) Italy they are simply called gnocchi (which means dumplings). One of the most common fillings for ravioli is spinach and ricotta, and the most common gnudi are also made from spinach and ricotta. These gnudi made with basil and ricotta were very nice indeed. Here’s what I did…
50 grams (1.8 oz) basil leaves
125 grams (1/2 cup) ricotta (homemade)
60 grams (2.1 oz) freshly grated pecorino (preferably ‘toscano’) + more for serving
35 grams (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour (Italians would use 00 flour)
semolina flour for dusting the gnudi
Fill a shallow wide container or a deep plate with a layer of semolina flour (about 3 mm or 1/8″ should do). Roll small balls out of the mixture using your hands, like rolling small meatballs. If your hands are not too warm and the mixture is cold enough, this should be quite easy but still a bit of the mixture may stick to your hands. Put the balls on the semolina flour and continue until you have filled up the space without crowding.
For best results, the gnudi should be cooked soon to avoid them losing their round shape or sticking to the tray. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Serve the gnudi on preheated plates. Spoon some more butter on them if you like, and garnish with freshly grated pecorino, a bit of lime zest (not too much), and the reserved basil leaves (cut as chiffonade).
This asks for a crispy unoaked white, Italian of course.
It is amazing how good the most simple dishes can be. The only thing you need for this is fresh salmon, farmed is fine, and a digital instant-read thermometer with a probe. The salmon is cooked to medium rare in the oven and will be so tender and succulent that you can eat it with a spoon.
You can serve the salmon with your preferred sides, fresh herbs, or sauce, but it’s good enough by itself. This recipe for simple succulent salmon is so easy that anyone can do it. Please give this a try, you will be amazed!