Gnudi with Braised Corn and Bacon
60 Beans Kitchen & Coffee, Astoria, NY
Gnudi, the cousin of the Italian favorite gnocchi, are light, pillow-like dumplings made with ricotta cheese and semolina flour. This recipe, served at our annual JBF Greens Queens Cooks dinner, pairs the fluffy dumplings with creamy braised corn, pickled ramps or scallions, and smoky bacon.
- 1 pound (2 cups) ricotta cheese
- 2 ounces (scant 1/2 cup) grated ricotta salata
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 1/2 cups semolina flour
Pickled Ramps (or Scallions):
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon juniper
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 bunches (8 ounces) ramp bulbs (you can substitute with the white part of scallions if ramps are not available)
- 2 green cubanelle peppers
- 8 ears of corn, shucked and kernels removed (or 5 cups frozen corn, thawed)
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
- 1 medium Spanish onion, diced small
- 4 pieces of bacon, diced
Make the gnudi: in a bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, ricotta salata, and salt and pepper to taste for 4 minutes. Evenly distribute half of the semolina flour in a 9 x 13 x 2 inch-baking dish. Portion the ricotta mixture into 1 ounce balls and place on top of the semolina flour, making sure to keep 1/8-inch of space between the balls of cheese. Cover with the remaining semolina flour. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 days.
After 3 days, remove the ricotta balls from the semolina flour. Reshape the balls into perfect spheres and dust off any excess semolina flour. Set aside.
Make the pickled ramps (or scallions): in a non-corrosive dry pot, toast all of the spices on low heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute until they’re fragrant. Add the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the ramps (or scallions) and cook until they’re tender, about 2 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.
Char the cubanelle peppers: turn your gas burner to the highest settings and set the peppers directly on the flames. Use tongs to rotate the peppers until the skin is completely blackened. Alternatively, you can roast them under the broiler in your oven. Put the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to loosen the skin. Once the peppers have cooled, about 15 minutes, loosen and remove the charred skin with your fingers. Chop the peppers into a small dice and set aside.
Make the braised corn: purée half the corn kernels in a food processor, then pass through a chinois using a rubber spatula to press the purée through the sieve. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Sweat the onions until they’re translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the charred and chopped peppers, the puréed corn, and the corn kernels and cook on low heat for 45 minutes.
To serve: bring a pot of water to a full rolling boil and season with salt. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat and add the diced bacon. Slowly cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and it’s crispy, about 10 minutes. Add the braised corn and 1/2 cup water. Carefully place the gnudi in the pot of boiling water and cook for 4 minutes, or until they float. Gently remove the cooked gnudi using a slotted spoon and add them to the sauté pan with the corn and bacon. Let cook for 2 minutes, then place on a large serving platter and garnish with the pickled ramps (or scallions).