"Gnudi?" I remember my friend’s confused look when reading the menu at one of our dinners out. I, being a food writer, was of course looked to to explain to all my baffled friends what they possibly could be ordering. Lucky for me, I really did know what a gnudi is (though a note to my friend: being a food writer does not make me a dictionary) and could quite easily describe it: "It’s like a gnocchi but made out of cheese." Apparently my description sounded good enough, as one of my friends decided to tackle the hard-to-pronounce dish, and in the end, I think the whole group was wishing we had ordered her rich and creamy gnudi dish.
Not long after, I was lucky enough to get a plate of possibly even more delicious gnudi to enjoy all by myself. It was during one of my recent mini-getaways in upstate New York, to Chappaqua. I stayed at the lovely Crabtree’s Kittle House Inn, which also happens to be the home of a great restaurant that focuses on locally sourced and seasonal food (as well as a majestic wine cellar of nearly 60,000 bottles of wines — but that is another story…).
The ricotta gnudi at the Kittle House’s restaurant were bigger than I’ve ever seen before. Almost the size of golf balls, they came served with sweet cherry tomatoes, basil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, all sprinkled with extra-virgin olive oil. Inside the thin, pasta-like "crust" was a creamy filling of ricotta. Needless to say, it was delicious and extremely creamy, but I could not resist finishing the whole plate. So if you like cheese, and encounter gnudi on a menu, don’t be intimidated by the name (just think that you are saying: nude-y) –— you are in for a decadent and probably over-the-top creamy dish.
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