This recipe requires some patience and planning, because the gnudi take three days to make. Before you run for the hills, I should clarify: The gnudi take about 10 minutes to make – they’re really easy – but three days before they’re ready to use. So plan ahead, and your foresightedness will be rewarded. In case you’re asking yourself what in the world a gnudi is, a quick explanation – the word comes from the Italian for “naked,” so named because they are sort of like ravioli without their pasta clothing. The recipe I’m using here for these delicious cheesy dumplings comes from April Bloomfield, chef of the Spotted Pig and other restaurants in New York.
1 lb ricotta cheese
2 oz heavy cream
2 oz parmesan cheese, finely grated
1-2 C 00 semolina flour or as needed
3 Marconi peppers, or orange bell peppers
2 T vegetable oil
1 head red cabbage, core removed and shredded
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C vegetable stock
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 T fresh chopped savory or thyme
1 T unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste
To make the gnudi, combine the ricotta, cream and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor. Season with salt and pepper and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Cover the bottom of a sheet tray or baking dish with a 1/4-inch layer of semolina flour. Using a 1/2 oz ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, portion the gnudi mixture onto the flour. Give your hands a nice coating of flour and then use your palms to roll each gnudi into a uniform ball shape, placing each back in the layer of flour. Once all the gnudi are rolled, place the sheet tray or baking dish in your refrigerator, uncovered. Allow the gnudi to rest for three days, gently shaking them or re-rolling them once a day to keep a thin coating of flour over their entire surface.
On the day your gnudi are ready, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, roast the peppers in your wood oven until soft and charred all over. Remove, place in a bowl, cover and allow to steam for 10 minutes. Peel and slice into thin strips. Set aside.
Preheat a large skillet or roasting pan in your wood oven. Add the vegetable oil and heat until just smoking. Add the shredded cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes more. Stir in the vegetable stock, mustard, savory and sliced peppers and bring to a boil.
At this point, add your gnudi to the pot of boiling water. Cook until the gnudi float, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the gnudi from the water and add them to the cabbage pan along with the butter. Cook one minute more to allow the liquid in the pan to tighten up slightly and coat the gnudi. Transfer to a serving platter and enjoy the fruits of your extended, albeit light, labor.