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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Florence, Italy . . . and Italian Chicken Soup with Dumplings!

My friend, Ruzie, LOVES Florence.  In May, 2016, she wrote:

I walk around. And I walk and walk...There's thunder and lightning and rain. There's colorful umbrellas everywhere - flying away. There's laughter, there's excitement. There's something in the air. This city breathes life and love and art.
And I sit at my table with the deepest dark hot chocolate to keep me warm trying to take in every single moment into my soul. This is Florence. How I love this city. It fills me with joy.

Last morning started with bells chiming in the distance over terracota florentine rooftops, a walk through via Maggia filled the most beautiful artisan workshops.... , 

past the Pitti Palace, an incredible artist who combined industrial design with acrylics, a conversation with the lovely Paolo at Florent apartments, a glimpse at a suspended Rhino (museum), mosaic artistry on the way and an awesome lunch!
 Last evening felt like we were in a different era. There was dancing and music and joy in Santo Spirito on the way home. It was perfect.


"Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose."      
                                      (TENNESSEE  WILLIAMS) 


Dumplings . . . I love them all:

Ukrainian Vareniki,  Ukrainian Halushky, and Ukrainian Lump Soup:
already blogged

               Polish Kopytki, which are just like Italian Gnocchi

Chinese shrimp dumplings and pork dumplings at Dim Sum

Hungarian Dumplings with Chicken (I MUST make those again SOON!)

And now . . .

RICOTTA GNUDI in CHICKEN SOUP   (6 to 8 servings)

Concentrated chicken broth:  You can get this in several ways:
(a)  reduce 6 cups of broth to 4 cups
(b)  make strong chicken stock by cooking chicken backs in previously made chicken stock
(c)   add juices from a roasted chicken to chicken broth

½ cup finely grated Parmesan
1 egg
500 g ricotta (2 cups)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 ounces very thinly sliced prosciutto
½ cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

(Also, you will need about ½ cup more flour for dredging the dumplings.)

·        Beat the egg and stir in the parmesan.
·        Stir in the ricotta, parsley, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
·        Finely chop the prosciutto.  Add into the ricotta mixture.
·        Stir in the flour.  Put in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  This will make the dumplings easier to make.
·        Put dredging flour into a small soup bowl.
·        Shape a large spoon full of dough into a one inch ball.   Roll in the flour and set aside on a plate. 
·        Make and dredge the rest of the gnudi balls.  There will be about 36 balls.
 If the dough gets too soft, put it back in the fridge for a while.
Put the gnudi into the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  This helps prevent disintegration when they are being boiled.

·        Bring a large pot of water to the boil with about 3 teaspoons of salt.
·        Drop in 6 balls.  Reduce heat slightly.  Do not cover.  The water should keep rolling.  Time 4 minutes.  When the balls rise at the end of 4 minutes, scoop them out and put them on a plate.

(I reduced the heat too much for one batch and they took about 6 minutes to rise.)
·         Put in more balls.  (Now that you see how it works, you can put in more than 6, but I wouldn’t put more than 10 at a time.)

·        When serving, put 4 or 5 gnudis in each soup bowl.  Then ladle hot broth on top. Serve with an Italian salad for a complete lunch or light dinner.  

Thanks to Giada de Laurentiis for this recipe!  I only changed the method a bit.  You might want to have a look at her book, EVERYDAY PASTA.  

P.S.  I can't believe I have never been to Italy!