AS A SUPPORTER OF CITYMEALS-ON-WHEELS, I receive a monthly newsletter called “Food for Thought” which features different chef’s recipes. As a food stylist, a lot of recipes cross my plate in a day; most get deleted.
This one caught my attention, though: a recipe for ramp gnudi.
For me, ramps evoke spring days pulling some of the first vegetables brave enough to rear their heads out of their sandy soil. Sure they’re a bit labor intensive to clean, but they’re tasty, and in early spring there’s not much competition out there. A recipe with ramps is a nod to warmer days and an end to this freak show of a winter.
Now that the recipe has my attention, I’m thinking, ‘What the hell are gnudi?’
I felt like I should know but I didn’t. Turns out to be a tasty little Tuscan gnocchi-type dumpling. And when I told my nine year old son, Ellis, what we were making the litany of jokes commenced, starting with “Do we have to eat these naked!”.
I have to tell you: these gnudi are so fabulously decadent, he would happily have eaten them naked, swaddled like a mummy, whatever.
This dumpling is largely goat cheese, parm and egg combined with a sauté made from the ramps, but I adapted the recipe to what I had. Though I might have gone a little gaga over the ramps, earlier, there were none in the larder so I substituted with the spring asparagus and shallots I had on hand.
I also added a bit of chicken stock creating a less rich pool of sauce for the gnudi to bath in. The dish was comforting yet sophisticated; delicate, not leaden. The goat cheese lent the flavor a slight tang that complemented the spring vegetable.
In my home, we enjoy our meals, though we tend to eat a little faster than we should. Inevitably, one of us will take a breath and utter the word “savor” like a meditative ohm – a reminder to slow down. In this case, I’m sorry to say, there was no savoring: the gnudi vanished as quickly as our third layer of clothes on that recent 60 degree day.