11 August 2011


SARONNO, Italy Today is cooking day at Auntie Pasta’s. Gary and I are going to make ravioli nudi – a simple but very delicious vegetarian dish. The Italian ‘nudi’ is a variation of a classic dumpling dish found all over the world.

Ravioli Nudi
In France they are called quenelles and they are made with fish, egg whites and a choux dough, the same choux pastry that is used for cream puffs and heaping spoonfuls of thick cream. It's the choux dough that inflates the quenelle as well as binds the mixture, a trick of classically trained chefs. It’s a much more complicated recipe but absolutely delicious, especially when served with a Nantua sauce. The Japanese also make a type of fish quenelle, adding their flavors of ginger and soy sauce.

 So Easy and Sooo Delicious
This Italian quenelle recipe is the most simple and straightforward of all – like almost all Italian food. It makes a great first course, especially in the summer when you want light and fresh tasking food.
Also on the menu is peach semi-freddo, but whether or not we get around to making it is another story. We tend to get caught up in conversation and run out of time.
 Easy as 1,2,3
Ravioli nudi (Naked ravioli)

• Preparation time: 30 minutes
• Cooking time: 15 minutes.
• 2kg fresh spinach.
• 500g ricotta.
• 2 eggs.
• 150g Parmesan.
• 2 tbsp flour.
• Salt.
• Pinch of nutmeg.

Clean and wash the spinach. Cook for ten minutes in a saucepan with just a small amount of boiling, salted water. When the spinach cools enough for you to handle, squeeze out the excess water and finely chop.

Place in a large bowl with the ricotta, eggs, grated parmesan, flour and a pinch of nutmeg. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended together. Form the mixture into small pellets, or as Artusi suggests, little croquette-shaped cylinders, about three centimeters in diameter.

Bring approximately three litres of water to the boil. Add the salt and drop in the "naked" ravioli. They are cooked when they rise to the surface. Remove with a strainer and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese. Serve immediately in warmed bowls with a sauce,

Small nudi are best and less likely to fall apart during cooking You will need about nine little nudi per person.

You can serve these with a tomato sauce but in my humble opinion anything but sage and melted butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese is too heavy.

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