Seared Scallops with Ricotta Gnudi and Broccoli Rabe – Top Chef Night

Top Chef conundrum — nothing looked good enough to be dinner. This has never happened before so we just went back a few weeks to something that had previously  interested us. We’re rebels like that. Top Chef night has few rules (No. 1 rule is not to blend a spatula. We came by this rule the hard way.) We went with Ed and Alex’s scallops with ricotta gnudi and broccoli rabe.

The gnudi (like gnocchi, but with cheese instead of potato) dough needed to sit so I made it the night before. And though the recipe calls for the ricotta to be strained, I left it in a strainer over a bowl in the refrigerator for hours, nothing happened. Apparently the whole milk ricotta you buy at the store is already strained. Good to know. I mixed the cheese with chives, lemon zest, olive oil, flour and egg and hoped that it wasn’t too floury or too wet to make delicious little dumplings.

When I got to K’s place the next night, he got started right away blanching broccoli rabe and mushrooms (separately). As called for in the recipe, he saved half the broccoli rabe and blended it with vegetable stock and honey to make the sauce for the dish. He tried it and said, “It’s…interesting.” I tried it and said, “Yuck. It tastes like overly sweet baby food.” We decided a little bit could go on the side, but not on top of the food where it could create a culinary don’t.

K started sautéing the mushrooms, shallots and garlic and I got the water boiling for the gnudi. We used a plastic zip bag with an end cut out as our “pastry bag” and K squeezed out drops of dough while I used a knife to cut them off at their appropriate size. It’s at moments like these the Top Chef cameras should be on-site as we had a crack up debate about the speed of squeezing versus the speed of cutting. Ultimately, the gnudi made it into the water.

I heated up the pan and seared the scallops while the gnudi were being sautéed and we made a little pan of brown butter with thyme.

K assembled the plate (artfully, as usual) and dotted the sides of it gingerly with the broccoli rabe sauce. The gnudi were light and tender and the broccoli rabe sauce was an absolutely amazing sweet complement to the scallops. Who knew? The flavors of the broccoli rabe and mushrooms blended perfectly together and every bite was fantastic.

Broccoli rabe sauce: I take back all the mean things I said about you. When paired with scallops, you are not the devil spawn of bad baby food, you are a sweet treat that I hope we can eat again soon.

Seared Scallops, Ricotta Gnudi and Broccoli Rabe

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