Sunday Morning

Gnudi, little ricotta dumplings served with brown butter and crispy sage leaves

Yesterday was a day of miserable weather little sun and lots of rain.  Around lunch time I headed off to Faversham to the barbecue which was being held for the beaters and pickers up who service the estates shooting season.  The game keeper was in charge of the actual fire but his wife and children had been roped in to sorting out the salads and other accompaniments.  The food on offer was the usual barbecue stuff burgers, sausages, chicken legs.  I didn't know many of the people having only been beating twice and as luck would have it the rain held off so we could eat outside but there was a large barn available if the weather had turned nasty.  We were in illustrious company as both her ladyship and a russian princess were among the guests.  I eventually got home at about 4pm and after a bit of a rest I set to and boiled the gnudi that I had made the day before.  As I dropped them into the boiling water there was a moment of panic as they sunk to the bottom and it looked as if we would be having ricotta soup.  However suddenly they started to bob up to the surface and out they came to be dressed with the butter and sage and a light sprinkle of parmesan.  They are so light and fluffy they just melted in our mouths and we all agreed that as a starter the portion was just right but if it were to be a main course then many more were needed.  This is a recipe I will be repeating the only draw back is that you do need to be on the ball and make them the day before.

250g fresh ricotta
50g freshly grated Parmesan
A few gratings of nutmeg
250g semolina, approx.
50g butter
about 20 sage leaves
pepper
extra grated Parmesan to hand at table 

1. Put the ricotta, Parmesan and nutmeg into a bowl and beat together until smooth.
2. Pour the semolina into a shallow tray. Slightly wet the palms of your hands and briefly lay them in the semolina. Now take up a small piece of the ricotta mix [a large teaspoon, say], gently roll it into a ball about the size of a big marble and drop it into the semolina. Push the tray back and forth to fully coat the ball with semolina and continue this process until all the ricotta mixture is used up. Transfer the gnudi into a tub, sprinkle semolina between each layer and on top, making sure the dumplings are well covered.
3. Place in the fridge, covered, overnight.
4. The next day, carefully lift out the gnudi from the semolina and put onto a large plate lined with kitchen paper.
5. Put a large, wide pot of lightly salted water on to boil [also, have four hot plates ready to hand].
6. Meanwhile, melt the butter over a low heat. When it is frothing, toss in the sage leaves, gently cook them until crisp, and without the butter becoming too brown; it should, however, smell nutty and look golden. Once the leaves are crisp, lift them out and set them to one side, turn off the heat but leave the sage infused butter in the pan.
7. Once the water boils, turn it down to a simmer and slide in the gnudi. Now turn up the heat a touch and patiently wait until the gnudi float to the surface; about 4-5 minutes.
8. When all the gnudi have risen, carefully lift them out [they are delicate] using a slotted spoon, draining them well, and divide equally between four hot plates.
9. Turn the heat up under the melted butter to warm it back up. Sprinkle the sage leaves over the gnudi.
10. Spoon over the warm butter and serve without delay. Hand extra parmesan at table for those who want it.

Do give it a go you will not be disappointed.

Today we are still in the midst of the miserable weather and I am going to cook us some of the Aldi sirloins for lunch which should give me time to get into the garden and do a few chores and also get the dogs out for a walk.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and I hope the weather doesn't spoil it for you.
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