Ever since I saw Craig Deihl’s post on Facebook, showing his house made mortadella at Artisian Meat Share, I have been looking forward to trying it. I am inspired by Chef Ken Vedrinski’s (Tratoria Lucca) Ricotta Gnudi with Mortadella Polpetti (little meatballs). Tratoria Lucca is one of my favorite Charleston restaurants and the reason is Ken Vedrinkski. He is a hands on chef owner who absorbs himself in his cuisine in a way that most chefs simply do not hold a candle to. He sources many Italian delicacies on his frequent trips across the Atlantic, finding the most special olive oils, wines and cheeses to bring back to Charleston. He also has special relationships with fishermen, ranchers and farmers who bring their goods to the back door of his restaurant.
Gnudi are gnocchi-like dumplings made with ricotta cheese instead of potato, with very little or no flour. The result is often a lighter, “pillowy” dish, unlike the often denser, more chewy gnocchi.
There are three elements to this meal, they come together in a perfect symphony of flavor and texture.
Tomato Sugo Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 generous pinch crushed red pepper
- 8 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and crushed
- 10-12 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 cup of butter
- Salt to taste
- Place olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
- Add garlic and chili flakes
- Saute 2-3 minutes
- Add tomatoes and butter, blend well and add salt to taste
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
Mortadella Polpetti Ingredients:
- 4 slices of day-old ciabatta, crust removed
- 2 cups milk
- 5 ounces ground pork
- 5 ounces ground mortadella (if you cannot find it, then use good quality bologna and finely chopped pistachios along with some black pepper)
- 1/4 cup porcini powder
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup ground Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- Soak cubes in milk for 5 minutes,then squeeze dry.
- In a large bowl add remaining ingredients until well combined. Cover bowl, then refrigerate 1 hour.
- Form Polpeti into 1 inch balls.
- 45 minutes before serving time, add the polpetti to the sauce and put on a simmer burner at very low temp.
- 16 ounces good quality fresh ricotta
- 5 ounces microplaned Locatelli Pecorino Cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2/3 cup 00 flour (available at Italian specialty stores or online), plus more for dusting.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl till a dough forms. Be gentle when mixing. cover bowl and chill for 1 hour
- Dust the bottom of a sheet pan with flour.
- Place dough on a floured work surface and roll into a 1 1/4 inch diameter log. cut on the bias into one inch pieces.Place on the floured surface
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
- Shake extra flour from gnudi. gently place in the pot cooked till cooked through. Put in a bowl and toss with the sauce.
- Serve with freshly grated parm.