Towpath’s ricotta gnudi
- 500g / 1b 2oz ricotta
- 170g / 6oz Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 5 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
- 2 pinches of freshly grated
- plain flour, for dusting
- 250g / 9oz unsalted butter
- bunch of sage, picked
- salt and pepper
It is quite likely that anyone lucky enough to have visited The Towpath café in London will have fallen in love with it almost instantly.
Deceptively simple al fresco dining, served with exceptional warmth and care, make it a favourite spot.
One of the high spots of lockdown has been working our way through their new book of recipes, and they have been kind enough to share one of them with us here.
This recipe is inspired by Lori’s Beaneaters & Bread Soup book. In our second year, when we finally had the kitchen on-site, we started occasionally hosting communal dinners. One of them had a Tuscan theme and these fresh, light, fluffy balls proved to be really popular. Ever since then they have appeared regularly on the menu, much to one of our regular customers, Susanne’s happiness. She could eat them every day – and let me tell you she does come every day!
(Note: Every time I make gnudi, they come out slightly differently. Until you feel confident, I suggest cooking one ball as a tester to see how it turns out. If it’s still wet, add some more breadcrumbs. Ideally you want as little flour on the outside as possible. However, if the gnudi are falling apart, add a bit more. The gnudi are also delicious served with a rich ragu or some roast pumpkin or squash.)
Start by placing the ricotta in a fine sieve and leave to drain for at least 40 minutes to remove any excess liquid – if it’s too liquidy, the gnudi will fall apart during the poaching. The longer you can leave the ricotta to drain, the better.
Tip the ricotta, Parmesan, eggs and breadcrumbs into a bowl. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon, very gently mix everything together until well combined, but do not overmix. The less you mix, the lighter your gnudi will be. The mixture should be thick, so if it seems at all wet, add some more breadcrumbs. Leave to rest in fridge for about 20 minutes.
At Towpath I weigh the balls at 22g / ¾ oz but you can roll them by eye – they should be the size of a walnut in its shell and you are aiming for 30 balls. If the gnudi mix is a bit sticky, lightly flour your hands, but use as little flour as possible.
Once shaped, rest again in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Melt the butter and sage on a low heat until the sage goes crispy and the butter starts to caramelise. Turn off the heat and keep in a warm place.
Boil a medium saucepan of water and add salt. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower the gnudi into the water. You may need to do this in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Turn the heat down and wait until the gnudi floats – about 3 minutes. Scoop out with a slotted spoon, making sure to drain all excess water and put each portion into a (warmed) bowl. Drizzle over the sage butter, sprinkle with Parmesan and finish with a grind of pepper.
IMAGE: Joe Woodhouse
RECIPE: Towpath: Recipes & Stories by Lori De Mori and Laura Jackson
Reprinted here with kind permission of Chelsea Green Publishing