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Homemade Ricotta -

Ingredients:

• 2 quarts whole milk

• 1 cup heavy cream

• ½ teaspoon salt

• 5-6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Method:

1. Line a large sieve with a layer of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.

2. Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.

3. Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.

4. Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour.

5. After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 2 days.


For The Gnudi -

Ingredients:

• 1 lb ricotta, strained

• 2 eggs

• ½ C. *freshly grated* pecorino cheese

• 6 oz. frozen spinach – (squeeze all water out after weighing) chopped

• ¼ C. basil, chiffonade

• 3 T. parsley, chopped

• ½-¾ tsp. nutmeg, fresh grated

• ½ lemon, zested

• Salt and pepper

• ¼ - 1/3 C. flour, start with ¼ and add a little more if needed for texture

• 1 C. flour

• 4 eggs, whisked

• 2 C. panko

• Oil to fry

• Smoked Tomato Vodka Sauce, recipe follows

Preparation

1. Place ricotta in a strainer and let strain for 1 hour.

2. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pecorino, chopped spinach, basil, parsley, nutmeg, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Add the ¼ c. flour and knead in gently. Mixture should be just under sticky. If still a little tacky, add flour, 1 T. at a time.

3. Transfer mixture to a baking dish, place plastic wrap over mixture and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours.

4. Meanwhile, prepare breading station by putting the flour in a bowl, the eggs in a second bowl, and the panko in a third bowl. Set aside. Set up fryer to 365 degrees.

5. Make the Tomato Vodka Sauce. Set aside on warm.

6. Remove the gnudi mixture from the refrigerator and scoop out 1 oz. balls and place on a sheet tray. When all balls are scooped, form all balls into perfect rounds and then one at a time, bread the gnudi balls in the flour, then the egg, and finally the bread crumbs. Do this with all gnudi balls and place back on the sheet tray.

7. Working with 6-8 balls at a time, drop them carefully into a deep fryer set at 365 degrees. Fry the gnudi until they are a perfectly delicious golden brown. Remove to a rack lined sheet tray, season with salt – IMMEDIATELY and serve with the smoked tomato vodka sauce.

For the Smoked Tomato Vodka Sauce:

• 2 T. olive oil

• 1 onion, julienne

• 5 cloves garlic, smashed

• 2 T. tomato paste

• ¼ C. vokda

• 8 smoked roma tomatoes

• ½ C. heavy cream

• Salt and Pepper

Method –

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan on the stove. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, and cook until it starts to caramelize. About 3 more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the vodka and reduce until the alcohol evaporates. Add the smoked tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and reduce by 1/3. Puree the mixture into a smooth sauce. Check for seasoning of salt and pepper.