Saturday, December 3, 2016

sweet dreams are made of cheese

I had another dinner plan for tonight, but Matty reminded me that it was focaccia day at our Italian deli, and requested that dinner be built around that.

That focaccia could be dinner in itself - massive, towering, topped with melted tomatoes, and buttery as all get-out. The only responsible thing to do would have been to make a massive salad to balance it out, but I got to thinking about pasta, and then couldn't let the idea go.

I couldn't quite go full spaghetti or anything, but when I combed through my Pins and dug this Ricotta + Spinach Gnudi back up, I thought to myself, "That's just a bit of flour, and all cheese! What could go better with focaccia than cheese?!"

Well, turns out, nothing. I added a little sausage for protein since I could hear my doctor in the back of my brain telling me that everything I ate should involve protein, and the dish turned out to be the most decadent little scoop of heaven I could ask for. The gnudi was somehow ethereal, but where they browned against that butter, they were crisp nuggets of cheesiness.

This easily serves 4. If you try to be a hero and go back for seconds, I hope you have a nice comfy spot picked out for your food coma.

Ricotta + Spinach Gnudi with Italian Sausage
slightly adapted from Food52
serves 4

1 c. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 c. ricotta
1 c. grated Parmesan
3 egg yolks
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4-1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage links, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 T. butter

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, and egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

2. Add in flour, 1/4 c. at a time, until you have a sticky, but workable dough. Roll handfuls of the dough into 3/4-inch ropes, and then cut each rope into 3/4-inch pieces. Transfer them to a floured baking sheet as they are finished.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop the gnudi into the pot and cook until they float. Once they float, cook for a further 2 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate.

4. In a large cast-iron skillet, brown the Italian sausage. Once cooked through, transfer the sausage to a plate.

5. Add the butter to the skillet, and allow to melt. Add the gnudi, and cook undisturbed until golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip to allow the other side to brown. Add the sausage and toss lightly to combine. Serve immediately.

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