This weekend I had the opportunity to attend End of Summer Camp, which proved to be a unique bonding experience for Anchorage grown-ups. I met bloggers, event planners, printmakers, food critics, photographers, storytellers and other local professionals all while enjoying nostalgic campy activities. The campers were fed by Fork Catering, and I took every available moment to enjoy their meals and chat with chefs Rob and Dave.
Chef Rob Kinneen taught a cooking workshop, which I eagerly signed up for. Turns out he was going to demonstrate homemade pasta-making. I’m familiar with making my own pasta, such as comb pastas, basil fettuccine and Russian pelmeni, but I was interested in learning techniques from a professional chef.
He led a hands-on lesson on tortelloni and ravioli nudi. The tortelloni, which were essentially large tortellini, were familiar to me, but the ravioli nudi were entirely new. The nudi are like ravioli without the noodle, literally naked ravioli. Instead you incorporate cheeses, flour, herbs and egg into a sticky, soft dough and create small dumplings, which are then boiled. They are sort of like gnocchi, but with cheese instead of potato.
My only attempt at making gnocchi in the past was a complete slimy failure and Rob’s technique for making nudi could be easily translated to gnocchi. I had to try the recipe myself when I got home.
And I did.
Ravioli Nudi with Spinach, Ricotta, and Parsley
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 8 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley
- 2 Tbs. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour plus about 1/2 cup for coating dough
Useful utensil: spider strainer
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set beside the pot. Meanwhile beat together the eggs, yolks, garlic, chili flakes, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Incorporate the ricotta till smooth. Add the parmesan, parsley and spinach. Slowly add the 1/4 cup flour till a super sticky dough forms. It should be the consistency of thick, lumpy pancake batter. Heavily flour a large cutting board. Gently turn the dough onto the board and work in enough extra flour for it to be very soft and sticky inside, but coated on all sides in flour. Form the dough into a 1.5-inch tall rectangle.
Cut the dough into 1.5-inch strips and gently roll each strip around, dusting with flour, till coated evenly on all sides. Cut each strip on a diagonal into 1-inch pieces so you have small, oblong dumplings. Gently roll each dumpling around in your floured hand till they are each coated and no sticky dough is exposed.
When the water is at a rolling boil, gently add the ravioli in batches so the water doesn’t cool down too much. Boil for just a few minutes, until the ravioli float to the surface. With a slotted spoon, strain out the ravioli and add to the ice water bath. Repeat with remaining ravioli.
Now that you have made your ravioli nudi, there are lots of ways to serve them. Use them in any ravioli recipe, or fry them up with butter till lightly browned and crusty.
Thanks again, Chef Rob, for your excellent instruction. I’m happy to add this technique to my repertoire.