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BrokeAss Gourmet

Basil Gnudi in Red Pepper Sauce

Fresh summery basil Gnudi swimming in a creamy, ultra-simple red pepper sauce.

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My friend and fellow food writer, Michael Natkin loves gnudi so much that he put them on the cover of his recent (fabulous) cookbook, Herbivoracious. And what’s not to love Pillowy, creamy ricotta dumplings (like gnocchi, but bigger and much easier to prepare) make a quick but very special vegetarian meal. As they cook, their outsides become firm yet fluffy, and inside, the ricotta melts and oozes out as you fork into each one.

Inspired by his recipe, these gnudi feature fresh, summery basil (though I’m looking forward to trying them with other fresh herbs), and swim in a creamy, ultra-simple red pepper sauce. Serve them as a side to meat or fish, or let them take center stage and add a green salad and a cooked vegetable or two. Whatever you do, make sure to serve these with good, crusty bread for sopping up the addictive bright-red sauce.


8 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging and for plate pantry

1 15-oz. container of ricotta (drain any extra liquid) $3.50

4 garlic cloves, minced, divided pantry

1 large handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish $1 for bunch

1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, all lightly beaten together $1.50 for 6 eggs

salt and ground black pepper pantry

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish $3.50 for 12 oz.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil pantry

1 medium onion, chopped 50 cents

1 12-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped $2

1/4 cup half-and-half $1.50 for a pint

Total cost of ingredients:



In a large bowl, stir together the flour, ricotta, two cloves of minced garlic, the basil, the egg and egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoons each salt and pepper, and the Parmesan. Continue stirring until a sticky dough forms. Lightly flour a large platter or a baking sheet, and make sure your hands are well-floured too (keep a small bowl of flour nearby—you’ll need it to continue flouring your hands). Scoop up about one heaping tablespoon of the dough, and roll it gently in your floured hands a few times to form a smooth ball. Set the ball on the prepared platter or baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Set the platter aside (or refrigerate, if you want to cook the gnudi later). Heat the oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, seven to eight minutes. Add the garlic and the drained, chopped red pepper and stir. Add the half-and-half, stir and cook for five to six minutes, until the half-and-half has thickened. Use an immersion blender, regular blender or food processor to puree the sauce until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the sauce and keep it warm at the back of the stove. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the gnudi, working in batches (I did it in thirds) for about five minutes, until they float. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl. To serve the gnudi, divide the sauce between four plates or bowls and top with the gnudi. Garnish with Parmesan and more basil. Serves 4.

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