For those watching Jamie’s new ‘Comfort Food’ programme, this is an older variation of one of the more recent episodes, where he combined ricotta and sage. This basil version is equally delicious, but I would advise you to use the ingredients stated, rather than try to improvise by swapping semolina flour for whatever you have in the cupboard, for example, polenta, although it does work ok – ish!
The recipe, originally from Jamie Magazine, is easy to follow, despite being a little messy in parts.
2 large bunches of basil, leaves picked
250 g fresh ricotta
125 g parmesan, finely grated
2 large free-range eggs
1 free-range egg yolk
75 g plain flour, plus a little extra
Semolina flour, for dusting
15 g butter
1 unwaxed lemon
30 g grated pecorino, to serve
Pop a pan on low heat, add 2/3 of the basil leaves and a splash of water…leave until wilted. Leave to cool then squeeze out the excess water.
Put the leaves in a blender. Blitz with 75g of the ricotta. Transfer it to a large bowl and add the remaining ricotta, the parmesan and eggs. Whisk well until light and airy.
Fold the flour into the ricotta mixture. It needs to be soft and moist but add more flour if it’s too sticky!
Sprinkle a 5mm layer of semolina flour over a baking tray, and fill a piping bag with the ricotta mixture, cutting a 1.5cm opening. I use a freezer bag and cut off the corner! Pip strips down the tray leaving a small gap between each.
Once piped, sprinkle a thick layer of semolina flour over the top, cut into 2–3cm pieces, cover with Clingfilm and chill overnight.
Before cooking the next day, remove from the fridge and leave to come up to room temperature.
Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat and add most of the leftover basil leaves. When the butter starts to bubble and the leaves have crisped up remove from the heat. I burnt the butter at this stage so be careful. If you do, start again – trust me, its unrescuable!. Finely grate in the zest of the lemon and season well. Set aside.
Lower the gnudi into a large pan of salted, boiling water with a slotted spoon. Once they float to the surface, they're cooked – this should take about 1 minute. I left mine a little longer.
Remove them with a slotted spoon, toss them in the lemon butter and serve with grated pecorino and the rest of the basil leaves on top.
It’s well worth the effort and phaff for a change and to try something new. It’s also a child-friendly recipe for letting those little ones help out, with lots of mixing and stirring!