Gnudi with chilli and crisp lemon skin

Ingredients

  • 30g pine nuts, toasted
  • 250g ricotta
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 extra egg white
  • ½ tsp finely grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 70g parmesan, finely grated
  • 100g fine semolina
  • Salt and ground white pepper
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • Shaved zest of 1 whole lemon, plus 1 
  • tsp lemon juice
  • 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1½ tbsp sage leaves, shredded 
  • ½ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes (or ¼ tsp regular chilli flakes)
Gnudi with chilli and crisp lemon skin
    Serves four as a starter

These are light and bursting with flavour. Eat the strips of lemon rind, too – they are fresh and delicious. All you need with it is a peppery wild rocket salad.

Put the pine nuts in the small bowl of a food processor, blitz until fine and transfer to a medium bowl.

Spoon the ricotta into the middle of a clean tea towel, draw up the edges of the towel to enclose the cheese, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Add the ricotta to the pine nuts, then mix in the whole eggs, egg white, nutmeg, baking powder, 50g of parmesan, half the semolina, half a teaspoon of salt and a quarter-teaspoon of pepper. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour.

Using two teaspoons, shape walnut-sized pieces of the chilled mix into rough balls, then, one at a time, gently toss them in the remaining semolina – you should end up with 26-28 balls. Place on a tray or large plate, and chill for 10 minutes, to firm up.

Fill a large pan with water, add a tablespoon of salt and bring to a rapid boil. Turn down the heat to medium-high, so the water is at a steady simmer, then drop in half the gnudi and wait for them to rise to the surface – about a minute or two. Once they’ve bobbed up, simmer for three minutes more. Use a slotted spoon to scoop them out and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining gnudi.

Put a very large sauté pan on a medium-high heat. Add the butter and oil and, once the butter is frothing, the lemon zest, garlic and sage. Cook for two to four minutes, stirring continuously, until the garlic starts to turn golden and the lemon skin crisps up a bit. Stir in the chilli, lemon juice and gnudi, and cook for 90 seconds, just to warm through; stir very gently, otherwise the dumplings will break up. Serve in shallow bowls, making sure each portion gets plenty of skin and garlic, and top with a sprinkle of parmesan.