Thursday, September 24, 2009

Swiss Chard Ricotta Gnudi with Fall Mushrooms

I've been a Bon Appetit subscriber for longer than I can remember. Recently, there's been talk that Bon Appetit and its sister publication, Gourmet, may face reduced publishing schedules and "streamlining" due to a downturn in advertising revenues. This is a shame. I look forward to receiving Bon Appetit each month and I am frequently inspired by their recipes and photographs. 

Although I spend a good amount of time gaping at the photos, I realized that I rarely make any of the recipes. I mean, I mean to, but I just don't get around to it very often.  So, I've decided to make at least one Bon Appetit recipe a month as a sort of show of support. This month I made Swiss Chard Ricotta Gnudi with Fall Mushrooms.

This recipe had several things going for it as far as I was concerned. For one thing, I had just picked up a bunch of Swiss chard from my CSA and, for another, I have been making homemade ricotta cheese and this seemed like an ideal way to use it. But the gnudi were what really sold me on this recipe.

Gnudi (pronounced nudie) means naked in Italian and, true to their name, they're like ravioli filling without the pasta. I adore gnocchi and gnudi are gnocchish (is that a word?), but gnudi are made with ricotta cheese instead of potatoes and are more delicate and creamy than gnocchi.

Actually, gnudi are easier to make than gnocchi, although they do need to be refrigerated overnight, which makes this a plan-ahead recipe. The gnudi are served with sauteed mushrooms and a reduced chicken broth -- both easy to make -- although I probably should have reduced the broth more. Overall, though, this recipe was a tasty success and I plan to use it as a base to experiment with gnudi.  

Swiss Chard Gnudi with Fall Mushrooms
From Bon Appetit

Serves 6

1 pound Swiss chard, stem ends trimmed
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/4 cup coarsely chopped shallot (about 1 large)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup all purpose flour plus additional for shaping dumplings
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 shallots, thickly sliced
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (such as shiitake, chanterelle, and crimini), stems trimmed and reserved, caps thinly sliced
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt

To prepare gnudi:

1. Cut chard leaves from each side of center stem. Cut stems into matchstick-size strips. Cover and refrigerate stems for sauce.

2. Cook chard leaves in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain; cool. Squeeze chard leaves until very dry; place in processor. Using on/off turns, finely chop chard. Add ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, shallot, egg, coarse salt, pepper, and nutmeg; process to blend. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup flour; stir to blend. Cover and refrigerate dough overnight.

To prepare broth:

1. In large saucepan, bring chicken broth, sliced shallots, and mushroom stems to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until mixture is reduced to 3 cups, about 35 to 40 minutes (after 40 minutes I still had more than 3 cups). Strain and discard solids. Return broth to saucepan. (The broth can be made 1 day ahead. Just cover and chill, then rewarm before continuing.)

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; add sliced mushroom caps. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; sauté until mushrooms are tender and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add reserved thinly sliced chard stems and sauté until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. (The mushrooms and chard stems can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

3. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon some flour onto large plate. Working in batches, drop heaping teaspoonfuls gnudi dough onto plate with flour to form about 36 gnudi. Using floured hands, gently shape each into 1 1/2-inch-long, 1/2-inch-thick oval. Tap off excess flour; transfer gnudi to prepared baking sheet. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

4. Bring large wide pot of salted water to boil. Slide gnudi into pot; cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot broth. Season broth to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

6. Divide mushrooms and chard stems among 6 bowls. Add broth, dividing equally (about 1/2 cup each). Using slotted spoon, divide gnudi among bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.

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