Spinach Ricotta Gnudi with Rosemary Tomato Sauce (Low Carb)


Foodblogging is really pushing my boundaries and I am loving it. It’s not just that I’ve learned to bake with all of these alternative, low carb ingredients, although that is certainly part of it. But I have also discovered a whole world of food I never knew existed. The foodporn sites like Foodgawker and Tastespotting are largely to blame. Almost daily I come across some food I’ve never heard of, or see ingredients combined in unique and ingenious ways. I know without question that I am outclassed as a baker and a cook, but it hardly matters to me. I am simply enjoying the learning process and taking inspiration as it comes. Even when I fail miserably (low carb disappearing meringue, anyone?).

I’d never heard of gnudi until I ran across it on a food photo site. But I instantly recognized it as something I could make low carb and it would be as good as the original. In its most basic form, gnudi is the ricotta filling of ravioli, without the ravioli. “Nude” ravioli, so to speak, which is exactly what it means in Italian. I saved a link to someone’s recipe somewhere, but I haven’t been able to find it since. I save a lot of recipes in various places all over the internet. I have set up numerous virtual recipe boxes and I can never remember where I’ve seen things I want to make. It’s a sickness, it really is.

Thank goodness for Giada Di Laurentiis. Her straightforward gnudi recipe came to my rescue when I finally decided I wanted to make these. I just so happened to have all of the ingredients, including the whole milk ricotta. I would love to try it with fresh ricotta, but that’s not readily available in this particular suburb of Boston. If only I could make it to the North End more often. I did change the proportions a little, with less spinach and more ricotta. I also kept it low carb by using a combination of carbalose flour and gluten flour. For a sauce, I went with my basic homemade Rosemary Tomato Sauce. I’ve seen some lovely pairings with a sage butter sauce but I didn’t have any fresh sage at hand and I didn’t want to be messing with a last-minute sauce. Not with three kids around, clamouring for dinner!

The Results: Who knew you could have ravioli without the actual pasta? Well, clearly other people did, but I certainly did not. And I am pleased to pronounce it delicious. The little gnudi were light and soft, without being at all chewy or rubbery, which was my main concern. The flavour was great on its own, but even better with a small complement of tomato sauce. And the best part for me was that it was remarkably filling. Given my level of fitness and my fast metabolism, I am often left hungry by low carb meals, but this kept me feeling full all through the night.

Although these are quite simple to make, forming them does take a bit of time. Unlike the instructions in the original recipe, I found that it was easier to drop spoonfuls of dough into the flour and roll it before actually shaping each one. Give yourself a bit of time to form all of the gnudi prior to cooking them. You also want to make sure to squeeze your spinach of all excess moisture so that the gnudi hold together properly. The sauce can be made ahead of time and rewarmed when the gnudi are ready.

Spinach Ricotta Gnudi with Rosemary Tomato Sauceadapted from Giada Di Laurentiis

1 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup grated parmesan
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tbsp carbalose flour, plus 1/2 cup for dusting
2 tbsp gluten flour

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, diced
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, parmesan, eggs and egg yolks. Mix well to combine. Add flours, salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix thoroughly.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil.

Pour remaining carbalose flour into a shallow plate. Drop 1/2 tablespoons of ricotta mixture into flour and roll gently until fully covered. Tap off excess flour and form into slightly flattened balls. Set aside until all gnudi are formed.

Using a slotted spoon, gently slide gnudi into boiling water, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Work in batches if necessary. Remove gnudi with a slotted spoon once they float to the top and have cooked for four minutes. Let drain on a paper-towel lined plate.

For the sauce, heat oil over medium in a large skillet until shimmering. Add onions and cook until translucent but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juices, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Serve gnudi with sauce and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Serves 6. Each serving of gnudi has a total of 11.6g of carbs and 3.9g of fiber, but this includes all of the flour for dusting and you won’t use it all up. Each serving of sauce has 3.9g of carbs but you can go lightly on this to keep the carbs to a minimum.

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  1. Tiffany says

    I've never heard of gnudi, but I saw you mention it on someone else's blog the other day, so I was anxiously awaiting this post! My aunt makes pierogies without the pasta and we eat the just the filling. How fitting that you could eat ravioli without the pasta too! :)

  2. Annie says

    The learning process what I like best about blogging too. I feel encouraged to eat adventurously and test my limits. Other people share their failures and what they learned and I can be brave enough to do the same.

    This is the first time that I have ever heard of gnudi but I really like the idea and it looks delicious!

  3. Belinda @zomppa says

    Looks absolutely delicious. The part of writing about food that is often frustrating is getting hungry all the time looking at photos like this!

  4. Lizzy says

    I've never heard of gnudi, either, butbut your beautiful photos have convinced me to try them…yum! You are definitely NOT outclassed~

  5. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom says

    Carolyn, I've been watching and waiting for this post too. Ever since you commented on my gnocchi post I couldn't wait to see what your gnudi was like. Looks great and I love your descriptions and explanations. Your sauce sounds easy and great for doing in advance.

  6. Stephanie says

    That looks amazing! The filling inside the raviolis is my favorite part! :-p I adore Giada and I've seen her make these before, but had forgotten how delectable they could be. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Joy (The Herbed Kitchen) says

    You have made beautiful gnudi. I've seen a few recipe for homemade ricotta and all you really need is a stove, milk, lemon juice and cheesecloth. There's probably more to it but it's dead easy and the best tasting thing on earth… at least as I can imagine it considering I haven't gotten around to making it yet. I am definitely going to be making this dish soon!

  8. The Small Boston Kitchen says

    Good for you for challenging yourself and trying new things! These look great! I've made gnocchi before but not gnudi, totally need to try!

  9. Rich says

    Wow, well, if pushing the limits means making food like this, then I'm certainly glad food blogging is pushing the limits – these look fantastic!

  10. Pretend Chef says

    I've never heard of gnudi before. Another reason I am loving the food blogging world. I get to learn so many new things every day. This looks great and the dinner sounds so easy to put together. I love Giada and have yet to try any of her recipes. I love watching her show. I love following your blog because you are so honest about your failed attempts and I admire that!

  11. Sandra says

    This is so amazing Carolyn..Looks pretty and without pasta now it's heather version!!
    Yes, everyday we foodies come across pretty unique recipe..I love it!!!

  12. Raw_Girl says

    Never even heard of the word gnudi before! That sauce looks ooh so inviting.

    What is the reason for using frozen spinach? You didnt have fresh ones handy or does it do something for the flavor/texture?

  13. Kate @ Diethood.com says

    I've never heard of gnudi (do you pronounce it nude-y?) either but my oh my, it sounds like I've been missing out! This recipe is delicious!

  14. Sommer J says

    This looks gorgeous! I love me some spinach and ricotta! I think I can convince 2 of my little ones to try this. Love the sauce with it as well!

  15. Elisabeth says

    Never heard of the name gnudi…but it's so cute! Love how you adapted it, and made it so beautiful comforting low fat, low carb, and yummy!

  16. claire says

    i am tagging this… i have to try it! i understand what you mean about pushing your boundaries… it is amazing how much I have tried and grown in regards to my tastebuds!

  17. Evan @swEEts says

    I've never heard of these but I want to try them now! You're right about opening a whole new world of food being a part of the blogsphere! I love it and I've gotten to "meet" great foodies like you :)

  18. susan says

    yum! this is like a stuffed shell without the shell!!! such a great idea, carolyn! I wish I had some of this right now!

  19. She's Cookin' says

    I've never heard of gnudi either, but they look and sound delicious! Totally agree that discovering new and beautiful foods is one of the great aspects of food blogging. Thanks for sharing this one!

  20. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says

    Gnudi sounds just perfect, I always pick the filling out of the ravioli most of the time since that's the best part!

  21. Vegolicious says

    This looks delicious. I love Giada, her recipes are always great.

    I’d love for your to submit them to Vegolicious, a vegetarian food photo gallery where readers can browse beautiful photos to discover new recipes and wonderful blogs. If you would like to share this recipe with our readers please submit a photo along with a link to this post.


    Hey Carolyn,

    I've never heard of this either, but it should fantastic! Who needs the pasts? Give me little cheese cakes anyway and I'd be happy!

  23. Angie's Recipes says

    A beautiful Gnudi dish! Green and red…perfect colour combination and the photography is excellent too.

  24. Joanne says

    I am constantly inspired by other bloggers as well! I swear I learn something new from them every day. These gnudi look wonderful!

  25. Spicie Foodie says

    Wow, this looks delicious! There is so many inspirational recipes and fantastic bloggers to learn from. We will all be better cooks and bakers because of it.

  26. MsByn says

    That is absolutely EXQUISITE. How absolutely amazing! I've never heard of this before, but my husband LOVES all things cheese… just showing him your photos had him all happy:)

    Thanks for the great directions and fabulous blog!

  27. A little bit of everything says

    it's the first time i hear about gnudi and I'm so happy you post this. love the cheese and spinach combo and these will definitely be a winner in my house.
    Thanks Carolyn

  28. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines says

    I've never heard of these either, so we all do learn constantly, that's what I enjoy too. These sound delish and your photos are great as always. Hope you are having a great week.

  29. vtkitchen says

    wow, this looks great. i never knew that you could make ravioli without the pasta. i have the same sickness you have, i scour the web and bookmark recipes nonstop. i have a folder on my favorites bar where i keep all the recipes and i keep refining it.

    i'm hosting a giveaway on my site, you should check it out if you have any interest. cheers.

  30. UrMomCooks says

    I saw gnudi on Top Chef! But I still haven't made it! This looks delicious and I think I am ready to jump in and give it a try!

  31. Becky says

    I had never heard of nudi before, either, but I'm going to try.My husband and I can always use less carb recipes.
    Blogging has enriched my life not only through the blogging friends that I've met, but learning about so many different types of foods and cooking techniques.

  32. Peggy says

    I really need to get into making gnudi! I usually eat ravioli for the filling anyway, so why not just leave the pasta out! This sounds absolutely delicious!

  33. Victoria says

    Making fresh ricotta is easier than it sounds!! I've never made gnudi, but I have made ricotta :) I would love to try gnudi sometime, it looks delicious and I've always wanted to try it.

  34. Kim - Liv Life says

    I also have never heard of Gnudi (I pronounced it "noodie"!) and I have to tell you that you actually made my mouth water with this one. I'm eager to give it a go!! Lovely pictures, and Congrats on the Top 9!!

  35. Rosemary says

    I'm glad to have learned about gnudi and finding your blog! Wonderful stuff. I'm squirrelling this recipe away on one of my many virtual boxes too!

  36. Cary says

    These look great! You can also take them from the water to the sauce pan with some butter or oil (coconut or olive) and crisp them up a bit!

  37. Jo says

    Can these be made with almond flour, do you suppose? I have w wheat allergy and don’t want to buy carbalose flour just to make these.

    Thanks as always!


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