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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

i Dunderi

Earlier this year BBC had the show Two Greedy Italians on iPlayer. Bored one day, I decided to watch an episode, and it was great fun. Antonio Carluccio seemed like a cuddly teddy bear whilst Gennaro Contaldo cooked and chivvied Antonio along. One of the recipes was for ricotta dumplings in a spicy tomato sauce. I wanted to make it but it was too late that evening (about 10pm) and so I collared a couple of friends the next day and asked if they wanted to revise after class (ok, so I was procrastinating my exam revision when I watched the show). Grace said yes and came over for one of the first meals that was truly vegetarian and not a meat based recipe that I'd adapted. The i dunderi looked so tasty and simple on screen, and they are, in fact, delicious and not very complicated to make. I made them again last night and from start to finish the process probably took about an hour, maybe a little more. The recipe is generous and feeds two ravenous people or three fairly hungry ones. As my friend and I weren't very hungry last night, there were leftovers for lunch and they tasted just as good as they did yesterday. The only trouble with this recipe is that it generates a lot of leftover egg whites, I get around this by freezing them in a labeled container (don't forget to mark how many whites there are) or making lemon and poppy seed cake or meringues.

My recipe is slightly different to the original, mainly through some additions to the sauce. With regards to the chillies, you can always add more, but start with just one and go from there. A suggestion that I read in a foodie magazine the other day was to cut the chilli in half lengthways and then touch the tip to your tongue and that would give you an idea of the spiciness of it. I tried that yesterday and it worked quite well, it meant that I only used one chilli to start with and then tried the sauce before deciding that another one would help up the kick a bit more, rather than adding three in straight off.

The cut and very floured dumplings!

i dunderi recipe

Serves 2-3 people
Only use the parmesan if you are not vegetarian (my friend fortunately doesn't eat meat for taste reasons and not ethical ones, which is good as I've only recently discovered parmesan isn't vegetarian friendly, oops). If you are veggie then you need to find a substitute (according to the vegetarian society the approved ones are Bookham's Not Just A Pasta Cheese and Pamazano).
I bought the pasta flour from the deli section of the Carluccio restaurant in Spinningfields as the small supermarkets around here don't stock it (big ones should though).
If using a stand mixer, make the sauce whilst it's kneading, if kneading by hand make this after you've finished kneading.

200g pasta flour, also known as 00 flour, plus extra
225g ricotta cheese (I buy 250g pots and put the whole lot in - it works fine)
30g grated parmesan
3 egg yolks
Large drizzle of olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely diced
1+ chillies, very finely cut 
1 large onion, roughly chopped
800g (2x400g tins) chopped tomatoes
Lots of salt (add a little sugar if it gets too salty)

If you are using a stand mixer then place all the dumpling ingredients in the mixer's bowl and use the dough hook, if you don't have a stand mixer then use a large bowl and a spoon or hand held whisk with dough hook attachments.
Combine the ingredients and knead for 5-10 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is extremely sticky.
To make the sauce, heat up the olive oil in a large pan and soften the diced onion, garlic and chopped chilli before adding the tinned tomatoes and salt and pepper. Leave to simmer.

Onions, chilli and garlic softening in oil

To make the dumplings you need to roll a quarter of the dough at a time into a ball and cover the outside with flour to stop it from being sticky.

Roll the floured ball into a long sausage shape, about an inch in diameter, and cut widthways into centimetre wide oblongs. Add flour to the cut sides and place so they do not touch one another on a floured surface.
Repeat the steps with the other three quarters of the dough.
Check the seasoning and spice of the sauce and put a large pan of water on to boil.
When the water is boiling place the dumplings in it and run a spoon or something over the bottom of the pan to loosen any stuck dumplings.
When the dumplings float to the top they are cooked.
Scoop them out of the top of the water using a slotted spoon and place into the tomato sauce.
Once all the dumplings are in the sauce, toss them together and they are ready to serve.

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I love to cook and this blog follows my successes (and a few failures) in the kitchen. If you enjoy my posts, or think there is a problem with a recipe then please let me know