Baked ricotta gnudi in roasted eggplant & cherry tomato sauce

Gnudi are delicious. Of course they are: they have two types of cheese in them. Gnudi are traditionally boiled in hot, salted water followed by an optional flash in a hot frying pan to crisp up the outsides; all very well and very delicious but a little bit involved. To simplify matters, I have oven-baked the gnudi in a sea of roasted eggplant and cherry tomato sauce, so that their little gnudi bottoms are boiled in the sauce while their tops get crispy and browned. 

Baked ricotta gnudi in roasted eggplant & cherry tomato sauce

Makes enough for 3 servings

For the gnudi:

300g fresh firm ricotta (I used Zany Zeus. If you can’t find any decent ricotta, try making your own

a free range egg 

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan 

1/4 cup plain or gluten-free flour  (I used brown rice flour) 

zest of half a lemon

freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sea salt 

Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and use a fork to combine. Cover and place in the fridge until required.

For the roasted eggplant & cherry tomato sauce:

2 medium eggplant 

a slosh of oil 

freshly ground black pepper 

sea salt

a can of cherry tomatoes in juice

1/2 – 1 teaspoon chilli flakes 

1/2 teaspoon sugar 

zest of half a lemon

olive oil for drizzling

a handful of fresh basil leaves 

freshly grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 180°C (fan bake setting). Cut the tops of the eggplant and chop into 2cm cubes. Place onto a wide flat baking tray, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with ground pepper and sea salt and place in oven to roast for 15-20 minutes until browned and soft. Remove the eggplant from the oven and set aside. 

Take a large enamel or ceramic baking dish (approximately 20 x 30cm and about 7cm deep); slosh in a little oil and add the garlic. Place the dish into the oven for 2-3 minutes until you can smell the garlic starting to cook. Remove the dish from the oven and add the can of cherry tomatoes; rinse the can out with a little water and pour this into the baking dish too. Add the sugar, chilli flakes, lemon zest, and roasted eggplant then give it a stir. 

Place tablespoons of the gnudi mixture on top of the eggplant and tomato mixture, it’s okay if the gnudi touch slightly. Drizzle with olive oil and place back into oven for 30 minutes until the gnudi have browned on top. Remove from oven and grate over some parmesan and sprinkle with torn-up fresh basil leaves. 

 

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