I've already admitted to the whole universe, here on this blog, that I'm not the greatest Italian in the world because I don't ALWAYS make my own sauce (that's because that world that I live in? It's the REAL one. Join me, there are babies here... Messy, but worth it!) Anyway, now I'll tell you another purulent, grotesque truth: I don't make my own pasta.
The last time I tried to make homemade pasta was when I was in grade school, with my father (who was Sicilian, and from New York, and bought his pasta from the store like most other Italian-Americans). We tried the same ravioli roller thingie that everyone else purchased during the time in the eighties when Julia Child, the Galloping Gourmet, and Jeff Smith were at the height of their popularity, and Dad sat with a pad and pencil next to our 13-inch black-and-white TV set every Sunday, trying not to miss any ingredients. (See if you can name all the technologies I pre-date with that sentence... It's fun!) We tried it once and only once. We kneaded and re-kneaded, rolled and re-rolled, cooked fillings, pressed and patted, and created a gigantic mess that culminated in the two of us declaring "Oh, eff this" and going to Arby's. Our roller thingie, along with all the other roller thingies from the eighties, ended up in a garage sale. Perhaps we aimed too high.
That's why I knew that when I saw this recipe from Giada (Yes! Yes, I AM the Everyday Italian!) it was ju-u-ust right. I had never heard of gnudi. They are a ricotta and flour dumpling that is larger than gnocchi, but smaller than... I dunno, a big meatball. I made mine smaller than hers, about the size of a Chicken McNugget (that way there is more sauce per bite). It came together so quickly, and just worked. No special knowledge or equipment needed. And it was filling yet light. It was just delicious. One thing you should know: the mixture may be kind of wet in the proportions she states... Just add a tiny bit more flour at a time until the dough is still moist and pliable, but not sticky. Then be sure to dust each in flour before dropping in the water. Simple enough to make on a weeknight.
I stored the leftovers with the sauce, and they re-heated beautifully. I printed this recipe, cut it out, and glue-stick-ed it into my recipe index file. Now with THAT commitment, you know I loved it!