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La Belle Cuisine - More Appetizer Recipes

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Florentine Ravioli Nudi



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Friday, November 10, 2006

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Florentine Ravioli Nudi
The Best American Recipes 2000: The Year's Top Picks from
Books, Magazines, Newspapers, and the Internet

Fran McCullough and Suzanne Hamlin, Houghton Mifflin Company
(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
from Siena.  And even though Mama herself couldn’t cook, somehow nudi
became “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 menus.
Light as these ravioli are in texture, they are also very rich – a bit overwhelming
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.”

 Serves 8

 15 ounces ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
Salt to taste
3 pounds spinach, large stems discarded
3 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 pound)
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

 Spoon the ricotta into a large coffee filter set in a strainer and drain for
1 hour.
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.  Serve.

 Tip: You can make the ravioli up to the point of boiling them the day before you serve them.

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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