It’s Gnudi Time!

Photo: Gnudi with meatballs and pasta sauce

Sometimes I learn about something and wish that I had known about it sooner in my life. Gnudi (pronounced nudee) fit in that category. I saw Giada Di Laurentis make these on television and decided I had to try them. They are similar to the filling in gnocchi, but really, it tastes like the center ricotta layer in lasagna. So delicious!

And they are easy to make. I adapted them only slightly to be low carb, which meant swapping out the regular wheat flour for low carb flour. I used Dixie Diner’s All Purpose Flour. I expect that coconut flour might work well in this also. I plan to try that the next time I make them. Since coconut flour absorbs more liquid, use only 1/4 cup in the ricotta mixture. If the dough gets too stiff, add a little egg white or water.

Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, not the canned variety that’s been sitting in the cupboard for two months. It’s worth it. This recipe is adapted from one I found at

Ricotta Gnudi

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 cups Whole-milk Ricotta Cheese
1 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Garlic and Herb Seasoning
1 cups Low Carb All-purpose Flour, divided
1-1/2 cups Marinara or Pasta sauce, store-bought or homemade
Fresh Baby Spinach

Place freshly grated Parmesan cheese in a large bowl then add ricotta cheese, eggs, salt, pepper and seasoning salt. Stir together, then add 1/2 cup low carb flour and stir until combined.

Put parchment paper or aluminum foil on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Dust with 1/3 cup flour. Using a 1-1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop or an over-filled tablespoon, scoop out golf-ball sized gnudi and place on the baking sheet. You can shape them into balls with your hands if they aren’t rounded. Repeat until all the dough is used.

Sprinkle the remaining flour over the tops of the dough. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill for 20 to 30 minutes. The more chilled they are, the better since the low carb flour breaks down in the boiling water more than regular flour.

Fill a large pot with water, add about a teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil. While waiting, get out the spinach and cut or tear into pieces for garnish. Warm the pasta sauce in a pan.

Use a slotted spoon to lower five or six gnudi into the water, one or two at a time. Try not to get too much extra flour with each one. Boil until the gnudi float and are firm to a light touch, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the water with the slotted spoon and put on a serving bowl or plate. Repeat until all the gnudi are cooked.

Spoon warmed pasta sauce over the top, garnish with additional Parmesan Cheese and the spinach leaves.

If you wish, you can add a couple of meat balls to the plate as I did.

Image: Gnudi in pan with butter and spinach

The other way you can serve gnudi is with a melted butter sauce. I heated my day-old gnudi up in the butter, lightly browning them. Melt a stick of butter, add 1 teaspoon minced garlic and let the butter get slightly browned. If you wish, you can add 1/2 to 1 cup of baby spinach while you’re stirring the butter. Spoon over the gnudi to serve.

This is great with roast chicken or pork chops as well as the meatballs.

Makes 24 gnudi. I used 4 gnudi per serving.

Leftovers can be put in plastic bags with the air gently pushed out as you seal it, or you can put them in a flat plastic container with a tight lid. They will keep up to three days in the refrigerator.

Image: Nutrition


Easy Microwave Brownies

Microwave Brownie with Hazelnut Cream Topping

A few weeks ago, I splurged big time and bought a microwave brownie baker at my local dollar store. What the heck? It might turn out to be a shortcut to one of my favorite treats, you know. (By the way, you can buy one just like it or a Betty Crocket one for $5 to $10 dollars!)

The kit includes a plastic pan for the microwave and an odd little measuring box. It has separate compartments and markers to put in your ingredients. Then you dump them all into the baking pan and mix them together. So I guess you could call this a measuring box.

I tried it once as written, cooking them in the microwave for 3 minutes. My brownies came out a little too done and not gooey as promised. So, I changed the recipe a little, using another similar one but used butter in place of oil. I cut the time back by 15 seconds. Brownies were a little less done but lacking the texture I was hoping to get. On the third try, I cut the time back to two minutes. Whoops. Still not in the gooey mode. The fourth time, I cut them back to 90 seconds. This time, they weren’t quite done in the middle. So, the most recent attempt was one minute and forty-five seconds. Success! While the brownies looked a little underdone when I first removed them from the microwave, they cooked a little longer and are now perfect.

The moral of this tale is that you may have to play with the time in your microwave. Since my unit is 1000 watts, a 1200-watt one might need only 90 seconds, while an 800-watt unit might need two minutes.

Alternately, you can abandon the microwave and simply cook them in an 8×8″ pan in the oven. Instructions are below.

I used a combination low carb flour of 6 tablespoons Bakesquick and 2 tablespoons Almond Flour.

Microwave Brownies

1 cup Sugar Substitute
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup All-Purpose Low Carb Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

Wet Add-ins:
1/2 cup Butter, melted and cooled
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup Pecans or Walnuts, chopped (optional)

Optional Topping (ices two brownies):
1 tablespoon Sugar-Free Hazelnut Spread
1 tablespoon Butter, softened
2 tablespoons Cool Whip or other toppings


Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together.

Melt the butter and let cool for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, add the butter, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk together until the eggs are completely incorporated.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir together until all the flour is moist. Add nuts and stir them in. If you wish, you can add 1/3 cup of sugar-free chocolate chips to make them even richer. Pour batter into a microwavable 6″x6″ pan to microwave or into an 8″x8″ baking pan for the oven.

To microwave, cook 1 minute 30 seconds to 1 minute 45 seconds and let cool. With luck, this will produce a moist, gooey cookie. If it’s not quite as you like it, cook it more or less the next time you make it.

To bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.) Bake 20 to 22 minutes, checking with a toothpick to ensure it doesn’t get overcooked.

To bake in the oven, let cook for 20 to 22 minutes, checking to make sure it doesn’t get overcooked.

Makes about 6 to 8 brownies.

For the topping:
It’s best to make only enough for what you’re going to eat at the time. This recipe makes enough for two brownies.

In a small bowl, add hazelnut spread and butter. Mix together, then add Cool Whip (or even whipped cream if you prefer.) Stir together until it is blended, then spread over the top of the brownies.

If you have friends over and you’re eating the whole pan at once, simply triple the amounts for the topping.

Low Sodium Brownies

For my friends who need a low sodium intake, this recipe works with almond flour and coconut flour.

To make low sodium brownies, use these ingredients:

1 cup Sugar Substitute
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Almond Flour
2 tablespoons Coconut Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

Wet Add-ins:
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
2 Eggs
3 tablespoons Egg Whites
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup Pecans or Walnuts, chopped (optional)

Cook in the microwave as described above.