Saturday, May 28, 2011

Antiquing and Gnudi ...

I never thought I would start off a post this way but here I am:  

I am lacking lyrical inspiration today.

There. I said it (insert thoughts in head here going: you really think you should be saying this? I mean you write, it's "out loud" you know...). Well dear readers, I am throwing caution to the wind, upon your kind, forgiving souls, and hoping you do not judge me for taking a linguistic nap. Now, that said, kind, forgiving souls (aka you dear readers) just because I can't quite feel the words this week does not mean that I cannot antique and make gorgeous darling dish of spring Gnudi

Antiquing and Gnudi were the tasks on hand the last few rainy (what else) days. 

Confession: I have a slight obsession with ancient English farm tableware. And mature miniature curvy glass containers. With bubbles. And oldish (it's a real word!) mismatched (curvy) silverware. And depression era cups. Okay, so the list could go on ...End confession.

The perfect storm of gray somber rainy days, said obsession and the unfair (or quite fair, depending on the day) proximity of myriad antique shops within steps of home, culminated in obsession slightly placated and some neat, curvy vessels for gorgeous darling dish of spring Gnudi. So, if you will indulge me, I am going to show you bought little bundles and Gnudi.

Little bundles...

Beautiful, thick, crackly, curvy, soap bowl ...19th century...
Teeny, tiny, curvy, cream china ...
The coolest spoon ever ...
A really unique old English farm soup bowl who's exquisiteness I just could not capture on film not matter how many times I tried for today's purpose. I tried many. It became a casualty of editing.

Teeny, tiny curvy glass wear spoon for scale ...

Now, the Gnudi. Gnudi, literally "nude" are (are you ready for this?) raviolis without their pasta clothes on. Yup. You will be eating naked, luscious Gnudi glistening with butter and kissed with fragrant sage and floral basil.

It seems I found some words.

Time to dish.

Gorgeous darling dish of spring Gnudi

Gnudi ...what more can I say ...

Here is what you need:
  • Ricotta - 400 grams of the one that was freshly made from your nearest Italian store (or old lady).
  • Feta - just enough to taste and creamy and Bulgarian of course
  • Spinach - 3 bunches, preferably dirty from the ground.
  • Eggs - 1 whole and 2 yolks (remember, happy hens please).
  • Parmesan - 1 curvy tablespoon (finely grated) for the recipe and tons for you (shaved).
  • 1/4 cup of flour plus a little extra for dusting.
  • Butter - lots, of course.
  • Sage and Basil - from your garden?

Here is what to do:

  1. Make sure your ricotta is dry by placing it over a bowl, in a cheesecloth to drain overnight. 
  2. Blanch your spinach in boiling, salted water for five seconds then drain and squeeze out any water and finely chop.Now, in your nicest bowl (why not?!) combine the drained ricotta, creamy feta, the whole egg, the egg yolks, flour and your nutmeg. Sea salt & cracked pepper go in, along with the spinach. Now that everybody is happy in the bowl, gingerly fold everything together until just mixed. I like to use my hands.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes so the mixture slightly comes together. Then, take out and roll into tiny meatball sized balls. Or whatever size your little hearts desire.Once done, back in the fridge they go for about an hour.
  4. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then reduce the heat until the water comes to a simmer.
  5. Careful attention here, please: Ready? Out comes the cold Gnudi. In goes the extra flour into a bowl. In go the cold Gnudi for a quick dusting and shaking off. Out come the Gnudi and in they go directly into the simmering water. Work in batches so that you do not overcrowd the little bundles of goodness.They are ready when they float to the top, between two to four minutes.
  6. In the meantime, brown some (a lot) of butter (if you don't know how, e-mail me, I'll tell you), add the herbs (they will be crisp in about a minute) and drizzle everything all over the Gnudi.
  7. Then, shave all your Parmesan on, as much as you like, take a bite, and close your eyes.


  1. Wow. This just looks great.

  2. Never heard of Gnudis but they sure look good. Makes sense to cut out the pasta and go straight to the jewels ...

  3. I never looked at it that way but when you put it like that it makes perfect sense :)

  4. Lovely finds, Oana. I wish that there was more antiquing to be done my neighbourhood!

    I'll have to try the gnudi soon. Are they a meal unto themselves--how would you serve them? I have a feeling that my boyfriend and I will want some other sort of grain on the side, carb-lovers that we are.

  5. "Gnudi" (or "Ignudi") in my native Florentine (Tuscan) language means "Naked"... The proper and true -extended- name of such delicacy would be "RAVIOLI IGNUDI". Obviously you can understand the reason why they are called that way: it's simple Ravioli filling that have just 'dropped' its pasta wrapper.
    Oana, I also noticed that you have omitted one very important ingredient in your recipe, something that we Florentines always include whenever we're dealing with Ricotta and Spinach... NUTMEG! It's essential, trust me! Try to incorporate a pinch in the mix next time you make a batch of Ignudi and you'll tell me the difference. Also: for an extra tangy-sharp flavor: drop in your butter-sage coating sauce a coarsely chopped flat Anchovy fillet... It's simply divine!

  6. Ahhh... I was forgetting: to all of you native English speakers PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT PLURALIZE all the Italian names you read.. it'ts "GNUDI" but NEVER Gnudi"S"...

  7. @ Ale - Nutmeg is in there. A Gnudi is not a Gnudi without nutmeg :). It is in step two. I must have forgotten to put it in the What you need portion. Thank you for the point out. Anchovies you say, sounds lovely. Will give it a try.

  8. @ Katie - Thanks, they are really yummy. I serve them as a meal unto themselves in the spring and summer with a simple green salad with fresh herbs. In the colder months I serve them as an accompaniment to braised lamb or osso bucco.

  9. I feel so exposed, the gnudi look awesome. Close to christmas time appetizers we made when I was a kid.

    Have you been to Finnegans in Hudson on a Sat morning...we need a car!

  10. @ Cheap Ethnic Eatz - Such a gift. I got one. When do we leave?