Last year I attended a farm to table bootcamp at the Culinary Institute of America, in St Helena, Napa Valley. It was a really great experience that taught me a lot about sustainable farming and wine making. I also got to spend every day at the CIA kitchen, cooking farm fresh, California produce driven dishes. Coming out of this program I have a definite favorite recipe that I am ready to share with you. I have cooked it so many times and each and every time I am totally in love with the flavors. I always make it with roasted tomato beurre blanc but I realize this might be a bit too much of work for most of you. Hence, I came up with my own recipe that allows you to make it quicker and achieve a very similar taste. Also this recipe uses lardons. If you want to keep the dish vegetarian just remove the lardons and use some very strong, good quality smoked salt and it will bring some smoky flavor to the plate 🙂
First you will make a dough for the gnudi with sauteed spinach and fresh herbs, then cook the corn and roast the tomatoes. Before serving fry some lardons and sage in butter, cook the gnudi and transfer everything into a skillet.
Ingredients (yields 4)
- 1 cup of blanched, chopped spinach
- 2 tbsp of mixed chopped fines herbs (chive, parsley, chevril)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup of ricotta
- 3/4 cup of all purpose flour (and some more for the rolling)
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan
- 2 corns
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup lardon (smoked thick bacon)
- cold butter
- 10-15 sage leaves both chiffonaded and in whole
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- olive oil
- salt, black pepper
- Blanch the spinach in boiling, heavily salted water for just a few seconds. Immediately transfer into a big bowl of iced water, to stop cooking and retain color. Drain and squeeze out all the water. Then chop the spinach very well.
- Chop some chive, parsley and chevril to have enough of at least 3 teaspoon of chopped herbs. More is better.
- In a big bowl mix 2 egg yolks, ricotta, chopped spinach and herbs, parmesan and season with salt and black pepper. Let it rest in the fridge until you are ready with the remaining components.
- Place the cherry tomatoes in a baking dish (so you can save the juice), drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt. Roast the tomatoes at 450F until they start to fall apart. Be careful not to over roast, so they are still juicy!
- Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the corns. Rinse them with cold water and keep them in warm water. When you are ready to use it, cut the corns off the kernels.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter and lardons in a skillet and pan roast the lardons . Add the sage and the minced shallot and sautee them for a few minutes, keeping an eye on it, not the burn the onions. Add the cherry tomatoes and when everything is very hot, add the vinegar and make sure you keep it on high heat and carefully stirring for a minute, to cook down the vinegar a touch. Finally add the corn kernels that you cut off the corn.
- In the meantime bring salted water to a boil for cooking the gnudi.
- Place the gnudi dough on a very well floured surface. Divide it into 3-4 manageable portions. Roll each mixture into a rope shape, (about 1 inch in diameter) adding as much flour as needed to be able to JUST work with it! Not more because you will end up with a hard, chewy, floury gnudi.
- Dust your hands with flour and start cutting the gnudis with a bench knife (about 3/4 inch long). You can transfer the gnudi from the floured board in the boiling water.
- Cook gnudi for 2-3 minutes. They will come to surface very quickly, you will need to cook a bit more than that.
- Drain the cooked gnudi and immediately transfer into the skillet with the warm sage lardon mix. Add tomatotes and corn kernels. Carefully mix everything so it covered fully in the sage butter and also some juice that the cherry tomatoes are releasing.
- Serve with fresh, tiny herb leaves of sage and chevril and/or chopped chives.