Paneer gnudi with saag
- May 2018
- Serves 4-6
- Hands-on time 1 hour 30 min, plus overnight chilling
”This dish is a love letter to the Punjabi farmers who were flown in to work in the Italian dairy industry when the Italians struggled to recruit native workers. It combines homemade Indian cheese with parmesan to make meltingly light gnudi” – Ravinder Bhoga
If you consider yourself a gnudi fanatic, why don’t try our ricotta gnudi with asparagus and crumbs?
- Vegetarian recipes
- 39.5g (19.1g saturated)
- 41.7g (16.4g sugars)
For the paneer gnudi
- 2 litres whole organic milk – the creamier the better
- Juice 1 lemon
- 1 large free-range egg yolk
- 50g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated, plus extra
- Generous grating of nutmeg
- 200g fine semolina
- 25g butter
For the saag
- 500g young leaf spinach
- 40g butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Thumb-size piece fresh ginger, finely grated
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
For the cavolo nero
- 200g cavolo nero or other seasonal cabbage, thick stalks discarded and leaves chopped
- 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- Grated zest and juice 1 lemon
- 1 preserved lemon, peel finely chopped (flesh discarded) or 2 strips lemon zest, finely sliced
- Toasted pine nuts
- Make the gnudi the day before you want to serve. Put the milk in a pan and bring up to the boil, stirring constantly, then stir in the lemon juice. Take off the heat and set aside for 20 minutes. The mixture should curdle and the curds and whey should separate.
- Line a sieve with a clean J-Cloth or muslin square and set over a jug or bowl; pour in the curds and whey, catching the curds in the cloth/muslin. Discard the whey (or use to make scones). Rinse the curds under cold water, then gather in the cloth/muslin and squeeze out excess liquid.
- Put the curds in a mixing bowl and use your hands to lightly knead them with the egg yolk, cheese, nutmeg, 1-2 tbsp cold water and black pepper. Don’t overwork the gnudi mixture.
- Sprinkle half the semolina on a tray or serving platter. Roll the gnudi mix into 30-35 small balls and add to the tray/platter of semolina. Sprinkle the rest of the semolina on top, roll the balls to coat, then cover and chill for 24 hours.
- For the saag, bring a large pan of water to the boil and have a large bowl of iced water to hand. Cook the spinach for a few seconds until wilted, then plunge into the iced water. Lift out the spinach (save → the water) and put in a clean J-Cloth/ muslin square. Squeeze out any excess liquid, put in a blender/food processor and whizz until smooth.
- Melt the 40g butter in a pan over a medium heat, then fry the onion and cumin seeds for 5 minutes until the onion is turning golden. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and fry for 1-2 minutes until aromatic. Stir in the spinach purée, season, then cook until heated through.
- For the cavolo nero, bring the pan of water back to the boil and refresh the bowl of iced water. Add the cavolo nero to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute, then plunge straight into the iced water (to keep its colour bright). Lift out and squeeze dry in the J-Cloth/muslin square you used for the spinach. Heat the 60ml olive oil in a separate pan over a low heat, then fry the garlic, chilli and lemon zest until fragrant. Add the lemon juice, then stir in the cavolo nero to warm through. Taste and season.
- Just before serving remove the gnudi from the semolina. Bring a new pan of salted water to the boil. Melt the 25g butter in a clean frying pan until foaming. In batches, gently lower the gnudi into the water with a slotted spoon and simmer for about 45 seconds. Lift out with the slotted spoon, add to the pan of butter and fry for 2-3 minutes until pale golden.
- To serve, spoon the saag into 4 or 6 warmed bowls, then top with cavolo nero and the gnudi. Scatter with preserved lemon/lemon zest, pine nuts and more grated parmesan.
You need to start this recipe a day in advance. Keep the gnudi covered in the fridge for 24 hours. Make the saag and cavolo nero bases 2 hours ahead, then warm and finish the recipe.
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