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Author Notes: This recipe is inspired by a couple of things. One is Giada’s recipe for ricotta gnudi in Parmesan broth, and the other is by sformato, a light Italian dish that is kind of a cross between pudding, custard and soufflé. I wanted the intensity of the asparagus flavor with the light pillowy bites of ricotta, and I liked the idea of a brightly flavored broth to surround it all, with a little salty crunch of prosciutto. It was also a chance to make ricotta cheese, which is ridiculously simple to make. I used goat’s milk to give the cheese more tang, and brightened it up even more with some Meyer lemon zest. Whole milk ricotta from the store works perfectly well too. Enjoy! Serves 6 as first course, 4 as main course. —Burnt Offerings
Serves 4 - 6
Goat Milk Ricotta Gnudi
- 1 cup goat ricotta or whole milk ricotta, preferably homemade
- 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest (if using store bought cheese)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- pinches nutmeg
- pinches salt
- pinches freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour plus more for dredging
- In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, lemon zest, Parmesan, egg, parsley, nutmeg thoroughly. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
- Stir the flour into the ricotta mixture, making sure everything is smooth and well incorporated.
- Pour a few TBLs of flour onto a small plate for dredging. Using a large melon baller, or small scoop, scoop up a spoonful of ricotta (about 2 tsp) and drop the gnudi into the dredging flour. Alternatively, you could use two teaspoons and make quenelles, but I’m not that coordinated.
- Form the rest of the gnudi, dredge in flour on all sides, tap off the excess and place on a plate.
- Place the plate of gnudi in the fridge to rest while you make the puree and brodo.
Asparagus Puree and Parmesan Brodo
- 4 pieces Thinly sliced prosciutto from a 2.5 oz. pkg. (for garnish)
- 1 bunch asparagus - about 1 pound
- 1 medium onion - roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese - divided
- 6 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
- juice from ½ a small Meyer lemon + lemon half
- 1 Piece of Parmesan rind - about 3 in. square
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oven to 350’ and place the prosciutto slices on a piece of parchment paper or Silpat on a baking sheet.
- Bake the prosciutto about 20 – 25 minutes until crisp, and set aside to cool.
- Bring the chicken broth, ¼ cup of the cheese, lemon juice, the squeezed lemon half, and parmesan rind to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the broth has reduced to 4 cups, about 20 minutes.
- Season brodo with salt and pepper, remove the lemon half, and keep warm on stove.
- While the brodo is reducing, make the asparagus puree:
- Trim the asparagus and cut off the tips.
- Cook the asparagus tips in large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain; reserve tips and 1 cup cooking liquid.
- Coarsely chop asparagus stalks – 1 inch pieces
- Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Add onion; sauté until tender, about 6 minutes.
- Add asparagus stalks; sauté until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add reserved asparagus cooking liquid. Cover; simmer until stalks are tender, about 12 minutes.
- Uncover; cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer to food processor; puree.
- Add remaining ½ cup Parmesan and mix thoroughly. If too stiff – add some of the parmesan broth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be made ahead and reheated.
- To assemble dish:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Carefully slide the gnudi into the simmering water, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. If you can’t fit all your gnudi in the pot of boiling water without crowding, do them in batches.
- Remove the gnudi using a slotted spoon or spider after they have floated to the top and have cooked for about 4 minutes total.
- Mound the warm asparagus puree into a large, shallow, pasta bowl.
- Top with about 4- 6 gnudi and a few of the reserved asparagus tips.
- Carefully pour the reduced broth around the puree.
- Crumble the prosciutto slices and sprinkle over the dish
- Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper to serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Fresh Ricotta