Chef Will Tuggle rolls the gnudi into small circles while explaining what exactly it is. "The literal translation is 'naked of potato.' It's not really a dish that you would see at a restaurant in Italy. It's something an Italian mother would make for everyone if she had extra ricotta leftover from another dish."
Tuggle is still fairly new to Denver and this dish is one of the few he brought with him from New York. "My favorite dishes are always a food memory. I used to eat at The Spotted Pig in New York often— I always got the gnudi there so I came up with my own version. Cooking and eating this is a reminder of my past that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling."
And how could a dish that starts with that much cheese and ends with that much butter not give you a warm fuzzy feeling? The ricotta is hand-mixed with spinach and then set to rest for three days in the refrigerator. After a good sleep, it is formed into dumplings and rolled into semolina flour. When thrown into a hot pan with butter and fresh peas, the flour gives it a beautiful skin, crisping the outside of the dumplings while keeping the inside soft. Finishing touches of watercress, fresh snap peas, and pickled matsutake mushrooms give the dish an extra crunch.
"The best Italian food is from the heart and to the point. That's why I like this dish. It's simple enough to be approachable for our guests but cooked with enough technique that it could be found in a fine dining establishment."