Baked Gnudi with Vodka Sauce
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
For the sauce: In a sauce pot with lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. 2 minutes of so. Don’t burn the garlic! Add the tomato paste and caramelize it by cooking it with the garlic for 30-45 seconds. Add the whole can of San Marzano tomatoes. Warning: splatter may happen, don’t wear white. Add the basil, oregano, salt, pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Add 2 tablespoons of water to that. Cover the pot only half way, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes while stirring every 5 minutes.For the gnudi: In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, eggs, parmesan, salt and pepper. Add the flour in 2 additions. Mix until just combined. The dough will seem sticky. With floured hands, form the dumplings into 1 1/2 tablespoon disks. Softly roll it into a ball and then flatten and rest them on a floured surface. The dough should make between 34-46 dumplings.Finish the sauce: Heat a large pan over medium-high. Add the vodka and let it boil away until it’s reduced by half. Carefully, add all of the sauce into the pan. Simmer for about 1-2 minutes. Add the cream, mix, and turn off the heat.Finish the dish: Pre-heat oven to 400˚F. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Create a whirlpool with the boiling water and throw in the gnudi. Mix the water for a minute or so. This will help the gnudi not to stick to the bottom of the pot. They will float! Keep them in there for an additional minute after they do. A total of 4-6 minutes. Drain the gnudi and return them to the hot pot.In a baking dish, place a tiny bit of the sauce on the bottom. Place some of the gnudi along the bottom in one layer. Top with some sauce. Place another layer of gnudi, then sauce. Continue until you’ve used up all the gnudi and then top with the remainder of the sauce. Lay the sliced fresh mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese over top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is all melty! If you want to char the cheese a bit more, broil on high for 1-2 minutes.