It's time for the June Secret Recipe Club reveal...
What's the Secret Recipe Club? It's a group started by Amanda of Amanda's Cookin' but recently handed off to April of Angel's Homestead. Each month, every participant is assigned to someone else's blog from which they pick a recipe - or two - to make and post, but it's all a secret until the big day. Today's the day. I always love a kitchen challenge and some culinary adventure.
This month I was assigned All Day I Dream About Food, written by Carolyn, a stay-at-home mother of three who loves to cook, bake and eat. Many of her recipes are low carb and/or gluten free, because she was diagnosed with pre-diabetes in the spring of 2010. So, she experiments with alternative ingredients and tries to make healthy meals and treats that everyone can enjoy. Gotta love that.
I toyed with making her Cumin Lentil Barley Stew and her Andouille and Beef Burgers with Spicy Mayo and Caramelized Onions (best burger she's ever had!). Yes, please. Those are both on my to-do list eventually.
But, fully embracing a culinary adventure, I opted to make something I had never eaten in all my months of living in Italy, nor heard of: gnudi. Well, I decided to call mine malfatti, but you can read all about that below. Check out Carolyn's recipe for Low-Carb Spinach Ricotta Gnudi with Rosemary Tomato Sauce. Look at this gorgeous photo. I almost stuck a fork in my monitor when I saw this!
|Photo Credit: Carolyn, All Day I Dream About Food
And, as I usually do when I come across a culinary mystery, I dive head-long into reading about it...for hours. Literally.
Different recipes claim that gnudi means 'naked' in Italian. Not that I know of, but perhaps it does in a regional dialect. Nude - as far as I remember (and admittedly I am rusty since I haven't lived there in over a decade) - is, simply, nudo; nudi is plural. So, why the added 'g'? Other recipes differentiate between gnudi and gnocchi ("dumplings"), depending on the amount of flour that is used; and still other recipes claim that gnudi are just "naked ravioli," i.e., the ravioli filling without the pasta pillowcase. Hmmm...since the etymology is baffling to me, I'm going to go with another name I found for them: malfatti or "badly formed." That is more fitting for these organically shaped ricotta dumplings. Whatever you want to call them, call them delicious. Che squisito!
Malfatti di Ricotta e Bietola. "Badly formed" dumplings with ricotta and chard. Also known as 'dinner'!
These are so easy and pillowy soft. Traditionally they are made with spinach, but I had some chard from my High Ground Organics CSA, so I used that.
3 T Italian parsley, chopped
2 C chard, thinly sliced
2 stems of green garlic, thinly sliced
zest from 1 lemon
freshly ground pink Himalaya salt and flower pepper
corn flour for dusting
1/2 C tomato puree
juice from 1 lemon
Saute the chard and green garlic together until wilted. Let cool. Spread the tomato puree in the bottom of a baking dish, add the lemon juice and a splash of olive oil. Blend till mixed and covering the bottom of the dish.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place all of the other ingredients - except the corn flour - in a large mixing bowl. Blend with a fork until everything is well incorporated. Place the corn flour in a separate bowl. With moistened hands, form tablespoon-sized portions into balls. Roll them in the corn flour and place them in the baking dish. Leave some room between the malfatti.
When the dish is full, bake for 25-30 minutes until the dumplings are slightly browned. Serve hot, sprinkled with a little bit more parsley and lemon zest and drizzled with olive oil.