This heart-healthy version loads up on veggies and uses cheese sparingly.
In the Eating by Heart series, chef Colombe Jacobsen will be your guide to making healthy food choices. She will demonstrate how to make heart healthy recipes that don’t involve extra sodium, sugar and fat.
In episode 7 of Eating by Heart, Colombe Jacobsen shows you how to make spinach ricotta gnudi. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy-sounding word, as gnudi is simply a fun term for an Italian dumpling. This recipe not only tastes good, but it is also healthy since it is loaded with spinach. Spinach is great for your hair, bones, and skin as well as high in iron and protein.
Rinse the spinach, and then transfer the spinach to a pot on the stove to wilt it. For the base of the gnudi, separate two egg yolks and whisk them. The yolks will bind the gnudi mixture together. Add the ricotta cheese to the whisked egg yolks. Ricotta cheese is is high in calcium, but use it sparingly as it is also high in fat. Next add Parmesan cheese for flavor, as well as whole wheat pastry flour. Whole wheat pastry flour is a great alternative to all purpose flour because of its higher fiber content. Freshly grated nutmeg gives the gnudi a more complex flavor. Colombe suggests using freshly grated spices because they are more flavorful than spices that have been sitting on the shelf for a while.
Remove the wilted spinach and let it cool while you work on the sauce. The sauce is simply olive oil, butter and sage. Olive oil is a heart healthy oil with monounsaturated fats. You can use butter sparingly when following a heart healthy diet, since a little goes a long way for flavor. Melt the butter then add olive and sage leaves to infuse the sauce with the flavor of sage. Adding sea salt will enhance flavor, and it provides a dose of healthy, naturally occurring minerals. Iodized salt does not have the nutritional benefits of sea salt. Remove the sage and turn down the heat on your sauce.
Gently squeeze the spinach to remove moisture, and rough chop it. Combine the spinach and ricotta cheese mixture. Shape the gnudi by taking scoops of the mixture and rolling in your hands and on parchment paper coated with whole wheat flour. Set the gnudi in the refrigerator to chill. After they are chilled, cook the gnudi in a pot. You can tell the gnudi are ready when they float to the top. You can now coat the gnudi with sauce, then finish with crumbled sage.
- 1 pound spinach (about ¾ cup chopped)
- 2 large egg yolks (lightly beaten)
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
- 1 cup Ricotta cheese
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage plus 8 leaves
InstructionsRinse the spinach. Wilt the spinach in a pot until bright green, about 3 minutes. Let the spinach cool slightly and then squeeze out all of the water. Roll the spinach in a kitchen towel to remove any residual water. Chop finely. In a big bowl lightly beat the egg yolks. Then add the spinach, egg yolks, cheeses, ½ cup flour, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Mound a generous tablespoon of flour on a cutting board. Set up a parchment lined sheet tray or plate. Using a 1 ounce scoop, with floured hands form the gnudi. Drop it into the flour and quickly roll to form a light coat. Repeat and refrigerate, uncovered until ready to cook. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add half of the gnudi and stir gently to prevent them from sticking together. Cook about 5 minutes or until the gnudi rises to the surface. While the gnudi cooks, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in the chopped sage and the sage leaves. Add 1-½ tablespoons of gnudi cooking water, reduce heat to low and cook for a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnudi from the cooking water, strain off any excess water and transfer to plates. Cover with sage butter and enjoy immediately! Serves 3-4 (Makes 12 gnudi balls)
Nutrition Information Based on a Single Serving
*Percent Daily Value are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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And today we're making spinach with
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Gnudi is a fun word for Italian dumpling.
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And what I love about it is that it's
loaded with spinach.
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Spinach can be really tricky to wash.
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Oftentimes you get gritty spinach, and
that's not what we're going for.
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So then I just swoosh it around.
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And now I'm gonna go straight from the
bowl into the pot on the stove to
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wilt my spinach.
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I love how healthy spinach is for
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you, it's good for your hair, your bones,
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It's also high in iron and protein,
believe it or not.
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So now we'll wait for that to wilt and
it'll get nice and
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soft for our gnudi base.
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So now we're gonna work on the base of our
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First, I'm gonna separate the eggs for my
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We're separating the eggs so that we just
get the yolk.
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We need the egg to bind the mixture
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we don't want it to be to runny and
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So, we want it to stay together.
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So you're getting the flavor of the egg,
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you're also getting that as a binding
effect for the gnudi.
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Now I'm just gonna gently whisk the egg.
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To that I'm gonna add my ricotta.
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And ricotta cheese is high in calcium and
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we wanna use it sparingly because it is
high in fat.
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Then we're gonna add about a quarter cup
of parmesan cheese for extra flavor and
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then some whole wheat pastry flour.
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Now whole wheat pastry flour is a great
alternative to all purpose flour.
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It's got more fiber in it so more
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And for a little bit more complexity of
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we're gonna add in some fresh grated
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It's so important to freshly grate it
because when spices have been sitting on
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the shelf for a while, they don't taste as
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So, here's my beautiful green wilted
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And I'm just gonna let it cool right here
on the counter while I work on the sauce.
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Now the sauce couldn't be simpler.
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It's just olive oil, butter, and sage.
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I'm just gonna start with my sage.
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I'm gonna take all of the leaves off of
their stems and then I'm gonna
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add this to the sauce pan with half part
butter, half part olive oil.
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And I'm adding in a little olive oil to
make it even more heart healthy.
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And when you're using butter for
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a heart healthy diet, a little can go a
long way for flavor.
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First, I'll melt the butter.
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And I'll add in some olive oil.
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Olive oil is definitely the more prefered
oil, because it's a monounsaturated fat.
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But, if you want to use a little bit of
butter, it does add a lot of flavor.
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Now, I'm gonna add my sage leaves.
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And I just want to get them crisped in the
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So that it infuses the sauce with that
beautiful sage flavor.
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I'm adding sea salts and sea salts really
enhances flavor and it also has
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naturally occurring minerals and nutrients
in it that are actually healthy for you.
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Never use iodized salt though.
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It's really completely worthless, from a
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It's starting to smell amazing.
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And I'm pulling my sage out of the butter
olive oil mixture.
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now that's just my butter and my olive
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I'm gonna turn it down, and I'm gonna save
that for when the gnudi are finished.
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And now I'm gonna check on my spinach.
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It really does cook down, I mean you saw
that big bowl of spinach I had.
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You just want to get as much moisture out
as you can.
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And then I'm just gonna rough chop it.
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And this is really the star of our gnudi
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the spinach our nutritional powerhouse.
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So now I get to mix everything together.
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we've got this beautiful spinach ricotta
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And now we get to shape our gnudi.
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A little bit of whole wheat flour on my
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Take little scoops, roll them in my hand.
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Roll them around the flour.
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And then set them to the side.
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We're gonna put them in the refrigerator
to chill so
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that when we cook them, they stay together
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Now that our gnudi has been chilling
nicely in the refrigerator,
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we're ready to cook it up in the pot.
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And they're gonna cook for about five
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The gnudi is ready to pull out of the pot,
it's floated up to the top.
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I'm just gonna drop them directly into my
olive oil butter sage sauce.
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I'm gonna get a little sauce on each of my
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Then I'm just gonna take a little bit of
my sage, crumble it over top.
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These look perfect.
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I can't wait to try them.
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So light and
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fluffy, the sage, the spinach, the nutmeg,
it's a perfect combination.
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I'm Kolom, thank you for watching Eating
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See you soon.
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