Culinary Tradition

ZWILLING Culinary World, Destination Italy

Ricotta and Spinach Gnudi

The kitchens and tables in Italy are always filled with the most wonderful treats waiting to be shared. We went on a culinary journey with the food blogger Meike Peters from eat in my kitchen and collected inspiring recipes. Emiko Davies, food blogger and highly celebrated cookbook author, created this dish together with Meike Peters.


Ricotta and Spinach Gnudi

Ricotta and Spinach Gnudi

by Emiko Davies from the cookbook "Florentine - The True Cuisine of Florence"

Ingredients

Serves 4

350 g of firm ricotta, well-drained
300 g of cooked, chopped, well-drained spinach (if making from scratch, you need about 1 kg of fresh leaves)
2 eggs, beaten
A pinch of salt, plus more for the water
A pinch of ground nutmeg

About 50 g of plain flour
50 g of unsalted butter
20 sage leaves
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Handful of finely grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Preparation

Mix the ricotta, finely chopped spinach, eggs, pinch of salt and nutmeg together in a mixing bowl. You should have a thick, compact mixture.

Place the flour in a shallow bowl.

With hands, roll walnut-sized spoonfuls of the gnudi mixture in your hands, and then in the flour until well-coated. Place on a lightly-floured board until they are all ready.

Prepare a large pot of water (salted with a spoonful of salt) and bring to a simmer.

Carefully drop the gnudi into the water and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until they begin to float to the surface.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a wide pan over medium heat with the sage leaves. When butter is melted and before it begins to brown, add about 2-3 spoonfuls of the gnudi water and swirl the pan to create a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

When gnudi are ready, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and place in the sauce. Turn heat to low and swirl to coat the gnudi gently with the sauce. Serve immediately with the cheese.



A meal is more than the sum of its ingredients – food blogger Emiko Davies reinterprets traditional recipes

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"There’s always a reason why there’s that particular combination of ingredients in an Italian recipe and it’s usually to do with the landscape."


About


A Day in Tuscany with Emiko Davies

by Meike Peters

Somewhere in the soft hills behind Florence, between olive groves and cypress trees growing tall into the sky, you can find a heavy iron gate framed by a washed out yellow wall. If you walk though this gate, you'll see a group of old houses, a former farm, overgrown with ivy, the roofs covered in terracotta tiles, and the wooden shutters painted as green as the lush trees and bushes along the gateway. It's a little paradise in the heart of Tuscany, it's the home of Emiko Davies and her husband Marco Lami.

Emiko Davies is the renowned author of two celebrated cookbooks - Florentine: The True Cuisine of Florence and Acquacotta: Recipes and Stories from Tuscany's Secret Silver Coast - and she's also the voice behind her popular food blog of the same name (emikodavies.com). She lived in many countries, half Japanese, half Australian, and the daughter of a diplomat, she's seen the world, but when she met Marco, she lost her heart to this man and his home country. Emiko loves food and cooking, she has a background in art history and fine arts, so Italy, and especially Tuscany's traditional cuisine is a vast field for her to explore. She's fascinated by all the regions and landscapes, towns and villages, cultivating their own recipes, the style is Italian, always, but the interpretation is distinct. Everything is done for a reason in Italian recipes: the way an ingredient is used, the season and region that it is used in shapes every recipe. And its origin often lies in the past.

Emiko's eyes sparkle when she talks about historical cookbooks, or about exhibitions at the Renaissance Palazzo Pitti in Florence showing still life paintings of solitary fruits at the Medici gardens.

In her own life, she finds inspiration for her creations at every corner, at the markets, in conversations with the farmers who share their family kitchen secrets with her. She often finds that many formulas, certain combinations and preparations, haven't changed since medieval times. The food that's been cooked in Tuscan kitchens for centuries still finds its way onto today's tables, the stories behind these recipes are still shared when the families sit together.

The cookbook author is lucky, she found her perfect match. Her husband Marco is the sommelier at the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, he approaches wine with the same love, passion, and precision, with the same curiosity that his wife feels for food. He loves to dig into Italy's red and white classics and discover new tastes, the hidden gems from his country. To be able to chat about his finds and choices together with his guests and share the mutual love for good wine and food at the table is the greatest gift in his eyes. The story behind a wine maker, the philosophy, gets as much attention from him as the taste. "Ideally, you can taste the idea behind a wine."

Emiko and Marco, both experience food and wine with all their senses, but they also involve their intellect to discover new fields to learn from, to find new stories and flavors to stimulate their creativity. It's a passion vividly lived in their household and lovingly passed to the next generation. Their little daughter is already a skilled cupcake and cookie baker, watching what happens in her parents' kitchen with a curious eye. When we met, the young girl shared some of her baking secrets with me, just like her mother who prepared the fluffiest "naked gnocci" for us, Florentine spinach and ricotta gnudi.


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