Photograph by Shell Royster; props courtesy of Fiorenzo Berardozzi
February 7, 2018
All You Gnudi is Love Planning a date-night in for Valentine’s Day? Whip up this romantic pasta dish with ricotta, browned butter, and winter vegetables, courtesy of Indaco’s Elliot Cusher
Written by Hailey Middlebrook
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we turned to chef Elliot Cusher for an indulgent Italian supper, best served by candlelight. Italy may be his muse at Indaco, but his plates shine with South Carolina produce, like the locally grown butternut squash and broccoli rabe in this homemade meal.
1 ½ cups ricotta, well drained
1 Tbs. kosher salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups diced butternut squash
1 ½ cups broccoli rabe, chopped in small pieces
4 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/2 Tbs. thinly sliced sage
1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
Mix the ricotta, egg, and salt in a bowl. Add in flour and mix by hand for five to seven minutes to incorporate all ingredients. (You can also use a KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook on the low setting for the same amount of time.) Remove dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Flatten out and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Lightly roll out the dough on a well-floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a bench scraper or chef’s knife, cut the dough into long strips, and then cut the strips into 3/4-inch-long rectangles. Dust them with flour, and then place them on a parchment-lined pan to refrigerate until ready to cook.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cut into 1/4-inch slices, and then toss the slices in olive oil and salt. Transfer them to a baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.
While the squash roasts, cut the thick stems off of the broccoli rabe and discard. Toss the leafy ends in olive oil and salt. Place in the oven when the squash has 12 to 15 minutes left. Let both vegetables cool, then cut them into small pieces.
Bring a pot of very salty water to a gentle boil. In a 12-inch sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat until it begins to brown. Add the hazelnuts to the pan and cook until you can smell the butter browning. Add the sage, sherry vinegar, and diced broccoli rabe and squash.
Drop the pasta into the gently boiling water. Cook the gnudi for three to four minutes, until they all float to the top.
Add about 1/4-cup of the boiling pasta water into the pan with the hazelnut and vegetable mixture and bring to a medium-low heat. Add in the gnudi and 1/4-cup of cheese. Toss continuously until the gnudi are completely glazed. Divide the pasta mixture between two bowls and top with the remaining cheese.