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Florentine Ravioli Nudi
"Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most
gratifying of the arts,
but to cook well one must love and respect food."
~ Craig Claiborne
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Friday, November 10, 2006
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Fran McCullough and Suzanne Hamlin, Houghton Mifflin
(Giuliano Bugialli, Food & Wine)
“Only in Florence
would ravioli be served with not so much as its underwear: no pasta
covering at all. That’s why these tasty morsels are called “nudi”.
When Italian cooking authority Giuliano Bugialli was growing up in
Florence, his mother believed that only a true Florentine could make
these celestially light spinach-cheese dumplings, so she refused those
of her sisters-in-law, who came
And even though Mama herself couldn’t cook, somehow nudi
“her” ravioli, the ones she craved.
The task falls to Bugialli when he’s
in Florence to make them
for the family, since they’ve all but disappeared from restaurant
Light as these ravioli are in texture, they are also very rich – a bit
for more than a first course. But they’re sublime; make
them with fresh spinach
and the best ricotta you can find, and they’ll
become a trademark recipe.”
ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
Salt to taste
3 pounds spinach, large stems discarded
3 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper to taste
5 extra-large egg yolks
1 cup all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
Fresh sage leaves, for garnish
the ricotta into a large coffee filter set in a strainer and drain for
Bring a large pot of
salted water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 10 minutes, then
drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Drain the spinach
thoroughly. Working with one handful at a time, squeeze the spinach
until very dry. Finely chop the spinach.
In a large bowl,
combine the drained ricotta, spinach, 2 cups of the Parmesan, and the
nutmeg. Season generously with salt and pepper, add the egg yolks, and
stir until evenly combined.
Bring a large pot of
salted water to a boil. Spread the flour on a plate. Form level
tablespoons of the ricotta mixture into balls. Roll the balls lightly in
the flour until coated. (For the most ethereal ravioli, dust off any
excess flour before cooking them.)
Arrange the balls on a lightly floured cookie sheet.
Melt the butter and
pour it into a large warmed baking dish; keep warm
near the stove.
Gently drop one-third
of the balls into the boiling water and cook just until the rise to the
surface. Using a wire skimmer or a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli
to the baking dish in a single layer. Return the water to a boil and
cook the remaining balls in two batches. Sprinkle the ravioli nudi with
as much of the remaining 1 cup Parmesan as desired and garnish with the
sage leaves before serving.
To reheat, preheat
the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the ravioli for 10 to 15 minutes, or
until the cheese is melted and the ravioli are lightly browned.
can make the ravioli up to the point of boiling them the day before you
Cook’s Note: Truth to tell,
we love the nudi best when they’re baked in the oven before serving,
as in the reheating directions.
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