It is a rare set of circumstances that can evoke the feeling of jealousy from my bones. The exception extends to those of you who still have dear mothers alive and well, but that just might be a case of deep longing and nothing more. Truly, jealousy is an emotion that’s never served me well in the past, so why even go there. It’s been a very long time – until yesterday. Yes, late yesterday afternoon brought forth a big heaping plateful of that green-eyed monster served up hot and steaming with a giant spoon when I read this: Mandy Moore Learns How to Cook the Spotted Pig’s Gnudi. Not only has Miss Mandy managed to snag Ryan Adams, one of the most talented and prolific singer/songwriters around as her betrothed, but get this – the woman, fan of the ShamWow and self-proclaimed non-cook, scores a PRIVATE first cooking lesson in the kitchen of the Spotted Pig. There she was, Mandy Moore, in the kitchen of the Spotted Pig – one of my favorite restaurants. Mandy was learning how to make deviled eggs as well the tricks needed to prepare one of life’s all-time #1 plate-licking dishes – the Pig’s soft and tender little pillows of sheeps milk ricotta gnudi.
Covetous emotions were reaching crescendo as I made my way to the kitchen to deal with the jealousy in my own way – I queued up Ryan Adams (Magnolia Mountain, When the Stars go Blue, If I am a Stranger), and got busy with some gnudi-making of my own. In the fridge was a fresh container of Maplebrook Farm whole milk ricotta – a purchase inspired earlier in the day to try my hand at the lovely gnudi spied on Delicious Days. Using the proportions from that recipe as my base mixture and the visual cues from the Grub Street video in execution (i.e. piping the mixture onto a bed of semolina flour then cutting and gently rolling the cheese mixture into individual balls), by the time it took to bring a large pot of water to boil, and loudly sing along to the three Adams songs – about the same moment I heard my daughter slam the bedroom door equally as loud- I had two bowls of irresistibly delicious and featherlight gnudi. All ugly feelings fell aside as my cheese-loathing child first winced up her face and then softened as she took a reluctant first bite then succumbed to the pleasures of my gnudi.
Mandy Moore, if it were not for your lack of culinary finesse, there would not have been the article and video which led me to the kitchen, to perfection with my gnudi and a beautiful moment with my daughter. Grateful, yes, jealous, no longer – unless you have a mother hanging around. And good luck with the new cd – really.
What I did: I prepared the cheese mixture and cooking method from Delicious Days. With a wide tip and a pastry bag, I piped the mixture onto a bed of fine semolina flour and cut into sections per the Grub Street video. I then rolled each portion into a smooth ball, cooked the gnudi at a gentle simmer per Delicious Days instructions. Skim the cooked gnudi into a hot saute pan and sauce as desired – I had some fresh tomato sauce on hand. This, combined with a little of the gnudi cooking water and a spoonful of sweet butter gently bathed the gnudi with a sweetly acidic coating of lusciousness.
More on the cheese front: This hot bubbling Greek cheese dish of Bouyiourdi, courtesy of Kalofagas, made a fabulous dinner with crusty bread and a green salad one night last week. Make this – you”ll want to keep the ingredients on hand for anytime.