Friday, April 27, 2012

Ricotta, Pistachio & Basil Gnudi with Truffle Sauce






Malfatti or Gnudi is a traditional Tuscan dish. It’s essentially ravioli without dough called “gnudi” which in Tuscany means “naked” or also “malfatti” meaning “not well made". This dish gets its name from the fact that it is really the filling of the ravioli without the pasta. A delicious combination of ricotta, spinach, basil and ground pistachios come together into a light and airy dumpling which is poached then quickly sautéed on a little butter until they're crispy and golden brown. Topped with a drizzle of Truffle infused cream sauce, this dish is fabulous as both a starter or entrée to an Italian-themed evening.




Ricotta, Pistachio & Basil Gnudi with Truffle Cream Sauce
Serves 4-6

For the gnudi:
1 cup/250 g ricotta, well drained
7 tbsp/100 g flour
3 tbsp/50 g parmiggiano-reggiano, grated
2 eggs
2 tbsp pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp basil, finely chopped
2 tbsp cooked spinach, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste.

For the sauce:
A knob of butter
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 tbsp dry white wine
3.5 oz/100 ml chicken or vegetable broth
7 oz/200 ml single cream
Truffle oil or shaved truffles to taste

To prepare the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, then sauté the scallions and the garlic over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. Add the wine and broth and simmer until the liquid almost disappears. 

In a small saucepan, cook the cream over a moderate heat until it's reduced by half. Add to the sautéed scallions, and flavour with some truffle oil, salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

To prepare the malfatti, mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and combine until well blended. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. 

In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Using two small spoons, form the ricotta mixture into little egg-shaped balls and toss into the boiling salted water. As soon as they float to the surface, the gnudi will be cooked. Drain with a slotted spoon and toss them in a saucepan with 125 g of butter and sauté until they’re crisp and golden brown. 

To serve, arrange the gnudi on warmed dishes and garnish with a generous drizzle of sauce and a few drops of white truffle oil, and sliced fresh truffles if you have them.