This pasta was a joy to make, and really freaking simple. Two of my favorite qualities in a dish. Plus, now that fresh vegetables are so much more readily accessible here in the Northeast (yay summer!), it’s easy to get creative with your pairings.
If you’re curious, gnudi are sort of like gnocchi, and I’m not positive of the true difference (which I feel my Italian ancestors would be deeply disappointed by). My understanding is that gnocchi are traditionally potato-based while gnudi are traditionally ricotta-based. Maybe? Maybe.
These guys are made-up mainly of ricotta, flour, bread crumb and egg. They are delicious, fluffy little pillows of flavor once complete. Just take a look at all these gnudi pics! (Sorry, I couldn’t not put that in this post.)
This recipe uses fava beans in the supporting role. This legume isn’t one that I use often – or ever – but I’m glad I introduced my kitchen to it for this recipe. If you don’t like the fava bean option, it’s cool. We can still be friends. Peas, edamame, lima beans – whatever you fancy – will work just as well.
The gnudi dough mixture also contains some lemon zest and basil. They blend in nicely, and compliment the flavors well. You can also, as always, add in some of your favorite herbs from your herb garden. (Check out my Radio Flyer Herb Garden for some ideas!)
Once the gnudi dough has been shaped and floured, they will need to be chilled for a bit. At least an hour – or if you’re unlike me and plan things ahead, up to 24 hours before you’re ready to indulge.
Once you drop these into boiling water, let them sit there until they float to the top. When that occurs, let them cook for about two minutes more. Scoop the cooked gnudi out and combine them with the butter/fava bean mixture (in the recipe below…). Eat up, and enjoy!
To make, click to the right to expand ingredients and recipe.
- 2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese, drained
- 1 egg
- Cluster of fresh basil
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour (and a bunch more shaping and chilling)
- 1/2 cup fresh wheat bread crumbs
- 2 1/2 pounds (before shelling) of fava beans
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1-2 tsp red chili flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 5 ounces shredded italian cheese
Combine ricotta, egg and 1/2 of basil bunch leaves, lemon zest and about 3 ounces of the shredded cheese in a bowl. Stir until smooth.
Add in the tablespoon of sifted flour and the bread crumbs. Stir until mixed well.
Take about a teaspoon or so amount of the gnudi dough and drop it into flour. Then, shape the gnudi dough mixture in your well-floured hands. Place the oval shaped gnudi onto a floured plate/pan. Once all the dough is shaped, chill for at least an hour – up to 24 hours.
Shell the fava beans and boil in salted water for about 4 minutes – or when floating at the top. Cool under cold water and remove the beans from their skin (yes, another layer!).
When ready to eat, bring a pot of water to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, add the butter to heated skillet. Once melted, add in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Let cook for a minute. Then, add in the fava beans, the remaining basil leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste here as well. Cook a minute or so more and remove from heat.
Add the uncooked gnudi to the now boiling water. Once the gnudi float to the top, let boil for an additional 2-3 minutes and then strain from the water.
Plate and spoon butter/bean mixture over the gnudi. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.