8 sage leaves, finely chopped, plus whole leaves for optional garnish
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fried sage leaves
1. Make the sauce. Melt butter in a sauté pan and cook until it begins to turn golden brown (do not overcook or the butter may burn). Add sage; stir and and remove from heat. Add lemon juice and set aside.
2. Remove water from spinach. It’s important that you remove most of the water from your spinach, or the dough will never come together. Press the pureed spinach against a mesh strainer and then hang it to drain for 30 minutes.
3. Combine ricotta and spinach. Thoroughly incorporate, then add the beaten egg, a couple of pinches of salt, and Parmesan. Mix well. Taste a bit of your mixture and adjust with salt and pepper as necessary.
4. Add the flour. The actual amount of flour may vary slightly depending on anything from the moisture content of the ricotta to the moisture in the atmosphere. Too much flour could make the gnudi dense and heavy; not enough flour, and the gnudi might fall apart. Therefore, bring everything together and test the consistency by dropping a spoonful into some boiling water. If it holds its general shape and doesn’t come apart in the water, you’ve nailed it!
5. Shape the gnudi. Using two spoons, form your gnudi into quenelles (oval shapes) and lay them on a cookie sheet, tray or clean surface. One they are ready to go, drop them into seasoned boiling water in batches. Make sure you don’t overcrowd your pot, or the gnudi will jostle one another and likely fall apart. Once the dumplings float to the surface, they should take about a minute to cook. Exact cooking time may vary, so it do a tester or two and see which time suits your taste.
6. Sauce and serve. Right before serving, return the brown butter to the heat and add the Parmesan cheese. Stir to blend, then add the gnudi and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
FRIED SAGE LEAVES RECIPE
1 bunch fresh sage (or however many leaves you want for garnish)
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt
1. Wash and dry sage and remove stems. Be sure that the leaves are thoroughly dry before frying (when we don’t have time to air dry, we use a hair dryer!).
2. Heat oil in a small pan over medium-high heat.
3. Fry sage leaves until crisp, 2–3 seconds. Do not crowd in the pan; fry in batches if necessary.
4. Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with salt. Reserve until ready to serve.
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