15 mins (plus chilling)
- 70g salted butter
- 200g baby spinach leaves, washed
- 10 slices of prosciutto (San Danielle or Parma)
- 250g ricotta, drained
- 2 large egg yolks
- 50g tipo ‘00’ flour
- 25g finely grated parmesan
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ nutmeg, finely grated
- 50g (approx) fine semolina flour, for dusting 20 sage leaves
Melt just a small amount of the butter in a large frying or sauté pan set over a low-medium heat. Add the spinach leaves and wilt gently for 3-5 mins, until completely cooked down. Drain through a sieve, pushing the spinach with the back of a spatula or similar to remove as much of the moisture as you can, then run a knife vigorously though it until the spinach might be considered very finely chopped. Spread over a small plate and leave to cool. Chop two slices of prosciutto similarly finely and set to one side.
Put the spinach, ricotta, chopped prosciutto, egg yolks, 00 flour, parmesan and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and use a spatula to thoroughly mix and combine the ingredients. Season with just a little salt, a good few turns of a pepper mill and the nutmeg. Stir again – perhaps with a fork if the spinach or prosciutto look like they’re clumping.
Decant 4-5 tbsp semolina into a small baking tray or other flat-bottomed container that will fit in your fridge. Wet your hands, then form an amount of ricotta mix into a ball a little smaller than a golf ball. Roll onto and around the semolina, then repeat until all the ricotta mix has been used – you should have 20 gnudi. Leave in the fridge uncovered for at least 3-4 hours. Overnight is fine.
When ready to eat, put a large pan of heavily salted water on to boil. In a separate frying pan, melt the rest of the butter and add the sage leaves. Remove the leaves when crisp and set aside. Turn the heat off once the butter is browned and smelling nutty. Once the water is at a rolling boil, drop the gnudi in and cook for 3 mins – give them a gentle nudge from time to time to ensure they do not stick to the pan or each other.
Remove the cooked gnudi from the saucepan with a slotted spoon, putting them into a sieve or colander held over the pan as you do so. Turn the heat under the butter back on to low and gently tip the drained gnudi into the pan. Roll them around the browned butter then serve up, laying four bowls with two pieces of prosciutto each, dividing the gnudi and sage leaves between the bowls and spooning any remaining flavoursome butter from the pan over the gnudi.
Image: Ed Smith