Have you heard of gnudi? Well, I hadn’t, and neither had my friends, so now I’m on a mission to educate the world. Everyone deserves to have this experience once in their lifetime.
Gnudi essentially means “nude”. Some liken gnudi to gnocchi, and that somewhat describes the look of it, but in no way describes the taste or texture of it. The potato this is in gnocchi is replaced with soft, pillowy cheese. Imagine a pasta-less raviolio floating in browned butter sauce that is lick-your-plate worthy (no, I didn’t embarrass my fellow diners by doing that, but I would have loved to).
Here are some words that were swirling in the air above our table after tasting it for the first time: “ambrosia”, “orgasmic”, “best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth”, “let me die now because I couldn’t possibly get any happier”. Extreme? Perhaps. But honest, true emotions at the first taste of gnudi.
As for the burger- it is indeed stellar. Between the brioche bun with perfect grill marks, there is a thick, juicy burger topped with an intense Roquefort cheese. Piled to the side is a mound of seriously addictive, salty shoestring fries with fresh rosemary and garlic.
So I don’t want to lessen the importance of the burger. It’s definitely a part of the whole Spotted Pig experience. But the gnudi was incomparable to anything I’ve ever eaten before. I wasn’t aware there was such a thing on this planet. The single, shared order we started the meal with just wasn’t enough. I needed more than a few bites of those glorious little creatures. So after polishing off the burgers, we ordered more. You only live once, right?
SPOTTED PIG’S RICOTTA GNUDI
15 ounces sheep’s milk ricotta, drained (if you can’t find sheep’s milk, regular ricotta will work fine)
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
a few gratings nutmeg
1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino
half a stick of butter
12 or so sage leaves
In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, flour, salt & pepper, and nutmeg. Using a wooden spoon, mix until the ingredients are well combined. Using a tablespoon, scoop up a good measure of the mixture and roll into a little football shape. Place on a floured surface. Continue this until you’ve made as many gnocchi shaped pieces as you can, as uniform in size as possible. Refrigerate the gnudi for at least a half hour at this point, before cooking in gently boiling salted water. (Once they float to the surface they’re done).
While the gnudi are boiling, melt the butter in a saucepan until it has foamed and the foam has subsided and the butter starts to turn a honeyed sort of brown. Add sage leaves and sauté until super fragrant and a bit crisp. Once gnudi is cooked, divide among bowls and then top with browned sage butter and a serious grating of Parmesan. Prepare to swoon.