I, like many of you, am dreaming of going on holiday at the moment. Spending time in the kitchen can be a way of travelling elsewhere, and this week I felt like taking a trip to Italy.
A bit difficult to pronounce, ndunderi are a type of pasta traditional to the Amalfi coast, more specifically in the Salerno region. They are quite similar to gnocchi, but instead of containing potatoes they are made with ricotta cheese. This makes them a bit lighter, perfect for a summer dish.
For the ndunderi, you will need:
- 1 pot of ricotta cheese
- 2 egg yolks
- 50g pecorino or parmesan
- 100g white flour
- Nutmeg, salt, and pepper for seasoning
In a bowl, mix together all of these ingredients to make a dough. Shape them into cylinders of about 3cm in diameter, then cut into small pieces around 3cm in length. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour before placing your squares on top. If you’re not planning to cook the ndunderi straight away, place them in the fridge.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the ndunderi. At first, they should sink the to the bottom. Once they have risen to the top of the pan (around the 3-minute mark), they are done and can be removed with a slotted spoon.
Top tip: keep a little bit of pasta water aside. You can add this when mixing in the sauce and it helps to bind the different elements together.
Traditionally, ndunderi is served with classic tomato sauce, lemon or even sage butter…Since I was after something a bit richer, I made a gorgonzola and walnut sauce.
For this, sauté some finely chopped onion with thyme. Once the onions are transparent (before they brown), add some gorgonzola, a spoonful of crème fraiche and a handful of chopped walnuts. Cook these together until all of the ingredients have come together nicely. Mix the ndunderi into the sauce with a bit of the leftover pasta water. Serve with some basil leaves and more walnuts.
Food and wine pairings
Since this is a particularly rich dish, you’ll want a fresh wine to balance it out. Be careful though, a wine that is too delicate would be overpowered by the food.
To stay within the Italian theme, I recommend the Nosiola cuvée from Elisabetta Foradori in the Trentino-Alto-Adige region. I love this domain, particularly for the tension and unctuosity on this cuvée.