Sunday, November 11, 2012

DaVinci Storyteller Experience: Pumpkin Gnudi with Fried Sage & Walnuts

A perfect first course for your Thanksgiving dinner!

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Add something different to your holiday fare!

Gnudi are “naked” ravioli, (without the pasta around it). The name, actually, means naked, in a dialect form. They differ from gnocchi in that they are larger, lighter and fluffier, as they are made with fresh ricotta cheese and breadcrumbs.  

 We ate spinach gnudi, as part of a first course while in Tuscany, but I wanted to prepare an Autumnal variation on the dish using pumpkin, sage and walnuts. The brown butter sauce using DaVinci Pinot Grigio is a vibrant sauce, and the textural elements of crispy sage and walnuts are the perfect finishing touches! 

WINE PAIRING:  I would pair with DaVinci Pinot Grigio, as it is the wine used in the sauce. But, if there is Chianti open on the tables, go for that, too!

1 ½ cups of fresh ricotta cheese (drained in a cheesecloth-lined strainer)
2/3  cups of fresh pureed pumpkin pulp (if fresh not available, use organic canned)
¼ cup of all purpose flour
¼ cup of panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (grated)
½ cup of DaVinci Pinot Grigio
2 egg yolks (beaten)
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoon of butter
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
½ teaspoon of cracked black pepper
1 cup of fresh sage leaves
½ cup of chopped  walnuts

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, pumpkin pulp, flour, breadcrumbs, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, nutmeg, and thoroughly mix with a fork so that all ingredients are incorporated. Separate the egg yolk from the whites and beat the yolks a bit. Add yolks to mixture and mix with fork to thoroughly incorporate. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

 GNUDI: Bring a medium sauce pan of salted water to a boil. Using two tablespoons, scoop an egg-sized amount of gnudi mixture, and use this first one as your tester. Lightly, drop it in the boiling water. (If it stays together, you may continue with the batch. If it comes apart a bit, you need to add more breadcrumbs to the mixture.) Continue forming all the gnudi, lining them up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Working in small batched of three at a time, drop the gnudi into the boiling water. They will cook very quickly, and they are ready when they begin to float (about 1 ½-2 minutes). Quickly remove them from the water and line on another 
parchment-lined baking sheet.  (Do not let them remain in water, as they will over-cook.)

SAUCE:  In a medium-sized sauté pan on medium heat, brown the butter and when it begins to form a light-brown color, add the cracked black pepper and Pinot Grigio. Turn the heat down to low and reduce for a couple minutes. Remove from heat.  In a separate sauté pan on medium-high heat, melt about a tablespoon of butter. Add the extra virgin olive oil and sage leaves. Allow sage to leaves to crisp. The last minute, or so, add the walnuts to toast slightly.  Remove from heat. 

SERVE:  Carefully toss all the gnudi in pan with brown butter sauce and swirl pan around a few times to coat gnudi. Transfer gnudi to a serving platter, and drizzle remaining brown butter sauce over the top. Garnish with the crispy, fried sage and walnuts.      

Makes 15 Gnudi

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