Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eating in the Gnud(i). - Gluten FREE!

Green garlic.  It's a culinary sign of what we've been noticing for the last few weeks.  Spring is uber early in Northern CA.  The Bradford Pears, Tulip Trees (Don't know the real name do you?) and even poppies are blooming like it's April and it's just now mid-February.  The unseasoned (AKA drying out til the stem falls off and the outer skin becomes papery) version of ordinary garlic, Green Garlic offers a more herbaceous and less assertive flavor very similar to the difference between Spring (or green) Onions and their seasoned counterparts. 

Along with the spinach that was in my veggie box this week and the unused half container of Ricotta in the fridge, I had an epiphany for Meatless Monday.  Spinach and Green Garlic Gnudi. 

GNUDI?  What? 

It's pronounced NUDE-ee!  It's fun to say and fun to eat.

It's called this in Italian because it's like ravioli filling without it's wrap of pasta.  So it's naked ravioli.

With a quick dip in salted boiling water, the spinach was ready in no time. (Most time consuming part of the whole recipe?  Rinsing off all the sand that is inherently present in farm-fresh spinach and taking off the stems.  Baby spinach would make it a bit quicker, though not as farm driven.)

One big tip...squeeze out all the water from the spinach before chopping it.

Then a quick mix with two egg yolks, the chopped green garlic, a little flour and parmesan.  It was the perfect rollable consistency.  My eight-year old helped with the simmering process for the first cooking, then we dropped the little dumplings into brown butter with a little sage.  YUM! 

For Gnudi purists (or gnocchi purists for that matter), the shape was off.  Yes they looked more like meatballs instead of the little fork imprinted ovals they should be. But when you have cheesy goodness draped in brown we really care? 

Don't have spinach, chard will work fine.  No ricotta, use a cup of mashed potatoes for spinach potato gnocchi and no flour in the mix.

Now get out there and go Gnud(i)! 

Seasonal Veggies - green garlic, spinach

CWYG List Items - parmesan, egg yolks, flour (gluten free blend that I make), pepper, ricotta (on The List it would be one of the fresh cheese...I only buy when it's really on sale.)

Spinach & Green Garlic Gnudi
1/2 lb spinach, tough stems removed and rinsed well
2 stems of green garlic, rinsed well and chopped fine (or 2 tsp minced garlic)
1/2 lb ricotta cheese
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup gluten free flour blend (or 3 tbsp unbleached flour) plus more for rolling
1/3 cup parmesan cheese plus some for sprinkling
freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
several stems of sage, leaves removed and stems discarded

Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt liberally.  Drop the spinach in and when it is still vibrant green, but very soft remove to a colander and drain for a few minutes.  Squeeze out excess water in several layers of paper towel or a clean kitchen towel (not white, or it will be forever green.)  Place in a bowl with chopped green (or regular) garlic, ricotta, egg yolks, flour, cheese and pepper. 

Mix well.  Cover the bottom of a pie plate with additional flour.  Scoop out the spinach cheese mixture by 1/2 teaspoonfuls (or use a very small melon baller) and form into balls or ovals. Drop into the flour and once you have several in there shake the pie plate back and forth to gently cover the gnudi with a thin coat of flour.  When all the spinach mixture has been formed into balls, drop several at a time into boiling water. (I use a "spider" to do so without splashing boiling hot water.)  When they float, they're ready.  Remove them to a plate to hang out for a bit. (You may want to put a piece of parchment down to make sure they don' stick as they cool.)

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until it turns a caramelly color.  Add the sage leaves and cook until they turn a dark olive color, then add the gnudi.  Toss them around gently to brown and crisp them on all sides.  Carefully transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with more cheese. 

Serve with a salad and bread.  (We just had salad and everyone was totally satisfied.)

You can also make these as an appetizer.  Serve as is or with marinara sauce.

Print Page Copyright 2011 Christi Flaherty, Cook What You've Got

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