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Amy DiBiase of Tidal

One of San Diego’s most talented chefs is Amy DiBiase, now executive chef at Tidal, the beautifully renovated restaurant overlooking the San Diego Bay at Paradise Point Resort & Spa. Our friend and food writer Caron Golden often spends time in the kitchen with San Diego chefs and she recently had kitchen time with Amy, who shared with her the technique for making ricotta gnudi. While this is a year-round dish, somehow it seems especially delightful as the weather takes on a chill, so we thought we’d share this recipe with you.

The gnudi are easy to make and pair with a variety of sauces. Here we’ll show you Amy’s pairing with lamb, eggplant, and zucchini, but really, you can top it with any sauce you’d use with pasta. We love that this dish is also low carb, meaning this could be a special treat for clients dealing with type 2 diabetes. Amy uses durum wheat flour to coat the gnudi, but if you have clients with gluten issues, you could probably substitute wheat flour with a gf flour without it suffering.

So, here are the basics. While gnudi feels like pasta it’s really is cheese coated in flour. Essentially you beat together the cheeses with a sparkle of fresh lime zest and salt and pepper, pipe it into a bed of ground durum and cover it up with more of the durum.

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Let it rest, refrigerated, for 36 hours so it forms a shell that encases the cheeses. Rub off the excess durum and pop the gnudi into boiling water for about four minutes.

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Then serve with your sauce. Bite into a gnudi and what bursts from the durum skin is a warm, creamy texture with a mild flavor from the trio of cheeses. You could easily add fresh herbs like chives, thyme, or a touch of rosemary or spices like nutmeg, cardamom, or sumac to create your own flavor profile.

On this day, Amy showed Caron her current menu sauce–roasted eggplant puree with zucchini, tomato, braised lamb, and black olives. While making the sauce, she warmed the already-prepared puree in a shallow bowl in the oven.

In a skillet, she sauteed the zucchini in olive oil. Then she added the shredded braised lamb shank and a hank of butter. Once the liquid had reduced and the gnudi were cooked she dropped them into the pan briefly with the halved tomatoes. Out came the bowl with the eggplant puree and over that went the gnudi with the sauce. Then she added fresh basil before garnishing the dish with the Moroccan black olive puree.

Ricotta gnudi is also the perfect dinner party dish. Make it ahead of time up to the point where you boil the gnudi. Then serve family style on a platter with a salad and perhaps big bowl of steamed clams or mussels, and a fresh loaf of sourdough bread.

Ricotta Gnudi
From Amy DiBiase

Serves six

1 pound ricotta
8 ounces marscapone
4 ounces grated parmesan
zest of one lime
salt and pepper to taste
1 bag fine ground durum wheat flour (you can substitute all purpose flour)

*Note, the proportions of the cheeses are 1 part ricotta to 1/2 part marscapone to 1/4 part parmesan cheese. Amy says the easiest way to measure is to buy a 1 pound container of ricotta. Empty that into a bowl, then use the container to measure the marscapone and parmesan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the ingredients but the durum wheat flour until they just come together.

Spread a one-inch deep layer of flour into a casserole dish. Using a piping bag, pipe the gnudi straight onto the flour in the shape of a large Hershey’s kiss (don’t swirl like a Dairy Queen ice cream cone). You’ll probably need to use a clean finger to push the dough off the tip of the bag with each gnudi. Keep them about an inch apart.

When you’ve filled the dish with the gnudi, cover them completely with more durum flour. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 36 hours.

When you’re ready to serve them, put a pot of water on to boil. Add salt to the water. Uncover the gnudi and remove them from the durum flour. Gently brush off excess flour. When the water comes to the boil, add the gnudi. They should boil no longer than 4 minutes (cook too long and they’ll fall apart). The key is that they’ll begin to rise to the top of the pot.

Drain the gnudi and add to your sauce. Garnish and serve.

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What’s your favorite fall dish to prepare for clients?

Not an APPCA member? Now’s the perfect time to join! Go to personalchef.com to learn about all the benefits that come with membership.

And don’t forget to tune in to Lifetime TV’s The Balancing Act this Wednesday and Oct. 22 from 7:30 to 8 a.m. EST/PST. I’ll be on the show to talk about women in the culinary industry and how they can achieve an industry-recognized culinary certificate online through our partner Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy.

 

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Escoffier Online graduate Christa Ruvolo, Julie Moran, and Candy Wallace on the set of The Balancing Act

Well, this is a treat! I’ll be appearing on Lifetime TV’s award-winning show The Balancing Act on Oct. 15 and 22. The segment I’m on will be geared toward educating women on the culinary industry and pastry arts, as well as inform them as to how they can achieve an industry-recognized culinary certificate online from APPCA’s partner Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy. In fact, I’ll be joined by an Escoffier graduate and new APPCA member Christa Ruvolo. She’ll discuss her journey through the program and how it gave her the opportunity to manage the dining facility at a large Marriott property in Orlando. And, she’ll prepare a couple of dishes on the show.

Here’s a preview.

So, how did this come about? Well, as a member of the August Escoffier Schools’ International Advisory Committee, I’ve been a proponent of online education for years. I truly believe that affordable education should be available to all who are interested and committed to learning. I support the efforts of and programs developed by the Auguste Escoffier Schools to deliver realistic, affordable culinary training. When students successfully complete the program, they receive an industry-accepted professional certificate that enables them to pursue a career in the culinary industry.

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This meshes perfectly with The Balancing Act, which is geared toward bringing busy, on-the-go women positive solutions and cutting-edge ideas to help balance their busy lives. On the show, host Julie Moran interviewed Christa and me about how woman who are seeking realistic, attainable careers that will afford them the opportunity to support themselves and their families–as well as fulfill their spiritual and emotional goals–can go into the culinary industry. Let’s face it, traditional culinary education can be both time consuming and expensive. We explain how the Escoffier online training is not just affordable, but allows students to complete the program on their personal time schedule so that they can move forward in months, not years.

Christa's salmon dish on The Balancing Act

Christa’s salmon dish on The Balancing Act

Christa personifies this track. This is a second career for her. She’ll tell you herself how well the online training program worked for her–and she’s going to prepare some delicious dishes that showcase her culinary skill set. And we both were charmed by the very gracious Julie Moran, who was warm and encouraging on set. She and the production staff and crew made both Christa and me very comfortable and ready to share our information and anecdotes. It was wonderful to see Christa, who was a bit nervous about the interview, light up once the cameras were on. Now I understand the term ‘broadcast charisma!’ Christa has it and I got to watch her star shine!

Be sure to watch–and pass it on to your friends. The show airs from 7:30 to 8 a.m. on Oct. 15 and 22 on Lifetime.