Well, I have never lived anywhere but the US. I am just a couple of miles from Mexico, but I wouldn't exactly call that exciting by any means. One country I would like to visit though is Italy. I have fond memories of helping my full Italian grandmother, Nonna, in the kitchen to make homemade ravioli. It was delicious. Nothing has ever compared. Unfortunately she died many, many years ago and no one thought to write down her recipe. :( I wish I could present it, but since I can't I decided to challenge myself to make something that I haven't had before but reminds me of meals my grandmother used to make.
Ravioli Gnudi with Quick Tomato Sauce original recipe by Deborah Mele
9 oz spinach
15 oz ricotta
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for shaping)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Place spinach in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Cook for 2-3 minutes. (Can also steam.) Drain and squeeze out all excess water. Chop finely and drain once more. In a bowl mix well the spinach, ricotta, eggs, parmesan, nutmeg, salt, and flour. Bring to boil a large pot of salted water. Lower to a simmer. Form dumplings by hand, lightly rolling the gnocchi to coat with a little flour. Drop one into boiling water to test that your mixture stays together. Afterwards drop dumplings one at a time as you form them into the water. Once they float to the top, they are done. Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve with tomato sauce on top.
Quick Tomato Sauce:
28 oz can imported diced Italian tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon basil (or 3 tablespoons of fresh)
dash red pepper flakes
Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic. When garlic begins to sizzle, add the tomatoes. Turn heat to high. When sauce begins to bubble, turn back down to medium low. Season with salt and pepper. Add the basil and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few more minutes.
My finished product.
I really had no idea what I was doing, but this recipe was one I just HAD to try when I ran across while looking for something that reminds me of my grandmother. (Do note that I doubt if she ever made this because ricotta would have been too expensive for her.) I was wondering what the heck I was thinking when I took this picture:
How does one make these little treats? It was a rather sticky dough. Well, I can now tell you that a spoonful of dough dropped into flour and rolled around works just fine. Mine didn't turn out exactly like Deborah's photo, but it was close enough. Plus it tasted wonderful. DH even had seconds despite noting, "There's no meat." (You'll live, honey.)
The quick tomato sauce really was quick. If you're like me and live someplace where finding imported Italian tomatoes is a laughable matter, regular diced tomatoes do work. I added a little bit of sugar to mind and decided it was good enough for me. In fact I'm pretty sure I'll make this again. It's a bit more fool proof than this sauce (which I have managed to burn on the stove when I lost track of time...oops).