Gnudi alla Vodka Recipe

Cloud-like dumplings of ricotta, gently tossed in a spicy, creamy tomato sauce are the perfect weeknight comfort dinner.

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus overnight (to drain the ricotta)
Total time: 1 hour


 for the gnudi:
16 ounces|454 grams ricotta cheese 
½ cup|70 grams grated parmesan, plus more to serve   
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks               
½ cup|100 grams semolina flour, plus more for dusting


 for the spiced vodka sauce: 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, diced 
2 garlic cloves, diced
¼ teaspoon chili flakes 
⅓ cup|70 ml vodka
1 (14.5-ounce|411-gram) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand 
½ cup|125 ml heavy cream 
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
thinly sliced fresh basil, for garnish


  1. Make the gnudi: Place the ricotta in a fine-mesh sieve nested over a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the drained ricotta, the parmesan, salt, pepper, and eggs. Stir in the semolina until just combined. 
  3. Dust a sheet tray with semolina. Using two small spoons, shape heaping teaspoons of (½ ounce|15 grams) dough into football shapes. Place on the sheet tray and roll in the semolina. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Make the spiced vodka sauce: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the shallots and cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 minute, then add the vodka. Cook until the vodka has reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Purée in a food processor or blender until smooth, then return to the skillet. Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes more, then season with salt and pepper. Keep warm. 
  5. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Working in batches, gently add the gnudi and cook, stirring occasionally, until the gnudi are cooked through and fluffy in the center and have floated to the surface, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnudi to the skillet with the vodka sauce. Toss to coat and divide among plates. Grate more parmesan cheese over the top to serve and garnish with the basil.

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