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Rustic Italian Dumplings - Nude Ravioli
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I am part Italian and I loved Italian pasta, ate it all the time. But even gluten-free pasta is not good for me and I've reduced my refined carbs. However, I can't give up my Italian food so I'm always on the look-out for fun dishes. This one has the benefit of not only being gluten-free and low grain AND it's also quicker than lasagne. One caveat is that it is not low fat and would be hard to convert to dairy-free but now that my CF/DF son has gone to college I get free rein.

The recipe calls for homemade pasta sauce but I used jarred.

It is a really pretty dish with the Italian Flag colors - red, green and white. Would be good for a dinner party or potluck. Enjoy!

Baked Spinach Dumplings

Malfatti gratinati (sometimes called gnocchi gnudi or ravioli gnudi, nude gnocchi and nude ravioli)

Adapted from Twelve: A Tuscan Cookbook and this blog http://newfinmysoup.blogspot.com/2010/09/rustic-italian-sharing-tuscan-tradition.html

Serves 6-8 (about 30 dumplings)

1 quantity of Béchamel Sauce (recipe below)

2 cups Simple Tomato Sauce (about ½ the quantity of the recipe below)

2 lb, 10 oz fresh spinach (1 lb, 2 oz cooked spinach) Note: If using frozen spinach, use 2 lb frozen Chopped Baby Spinach

1 lb, 2 oz fresh ricotta cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper

Butter for greasing baking dish

½ cup gluten-free flour (I used a blend but rice or garbanzo would work)

Prepare the fresh tomato sauce, and set aside.

Cook the spinach according to the package directions, drain, and let cool. When it has cooled, squeeze out the water with your hands (this is important, as extra water will make it difficult for the dumplings to hold their shape).

In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, eggs, half the Parmesan cheese and a grating of nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper, and mix with a wooden spoon to make a soft mass. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

While the oven is preheating, prepare the béchamel sauce.

Liberally butter a large baking dish (I used 9 x 12 dish). Spoon a little of the béchamel sauce onto the bottom of the dish to just cover it.

Put the flour on to a flat plate and pat your hands in the flour. Using a tablespoon and your hands, form dumplings the size of a small egg, slightly elongated (about 2 ½ inches long by 1 ½ inches wide). Dust them very lightly in the flour and put them onto the béchamel in neat rows. Cover with the remaining béchamel. Splash the surface with the tomato sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden. Serve hot.

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Besciamella

Béchamel Sauce

Makes 4 cups

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup gluten-free flour (I used a blend but rice or garbanzo would work)

2 tablespoons corn starch

4 cups whole milk

Salt and pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg

Add cornstarch to milk and mix. Heat the milk in a saucepan or microwave. In a separate medium saucepan, melt the butter, and then add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook for a minute or two until it is lightly golden. Add a ladleful of the warm milk and stir well so it does not form lumps. Continue adding the milk in ladlefuls and stirring constantly until all the milk has been incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, and a generous grating of nutmeg. Continue cooking and stirring on low heat for another 10 minutes to thicken. It should be very smooth. Remove from the heat. Just before using, give it a good whisking.

***

Simple Tomato Sauce

Pomarola Semplice

Makes about 4 cups

4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed with the flat of a large knife

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 lb ripe, fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped (or two, 28-ounce cans of San Marzano whole, peeled tomatoes with juice)

Salt and pepper

12 fresh basil leaves, roughly torn

If using canned tomatoes, dump tomatoes and juice into a bowl and break up the tomatoes with your hands. Put the garlic and olive oil into a saucepan over medium heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 20-25 minutes, until the tomatoes have melted into a thick, smooth sauce (if using canned tomatoes, the cooking time is slightly less, about 15 minutes from when the tomatoes begin to boil). Add the basil and turn off the heat.

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I applaud you, but I'm exhausted by just reading the recipe! Good for you, I bet it was delicious. :D

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That sounds delicious!!! Thank you for the recipe.

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That sounds delicious!!! Thank you for the recipe.

You're welcome!

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Yum! My kind of recipe. I love making pasta, dumplings, gnocchi and so on and it is so reassuring that there is no reason to ever have to settle for yucky gluten free food! I made a big batch of delicious marinara sauce and am actually making something similar to your recipe tomorrow evening with homemade ricotta (easy to make). :D

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Yum! My kind of recipe. I love making pasta, dumplings, gnocchi and so on and it is so reassuring that there is no reason to ever have to settle for yucky gluten free food! I made a big batch of delicious marinara sauce and am actually making something similar to your recipe tomorrow evening with homemade ricotta (easy to make). :D

I've been making marinara myself but I forgot to thaw it so I used store-bought.

Homemade ricotta sounds good...I've been too busy to learn but I should try.

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I've been making marinara myself but I forgot to thaw it so I used store-bought.

Homemade ricotta sounds good...I've been too busy to learn but I should try.

Gnudi are so fabulous with roasted butternut squash and sage, too, in addition to the bechamel or with browned butter sauce. Man, am I getting hungry!

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this sounds delicious! i am going to try it - what sort of meat (for the husband) would you suggest would go well with it? italian sausage? meatballs? what do you serve with it if anything else? it sounds like a complete meal to me but i know what the first question out of his mouth will be LOL (he is not a huge spinach fan either but that is TOO BAD ;) )

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this sounds delicious! i am going to try it - what sort of meat (for the husband) would you suggest would go well with it? italian sausage? meatballs? what do you serve with it if anything else? it sounds like a complete meal to me but i know what the first question out of his mouth will be LOL (he is not a huge spinach fan either but that is TOO BAD ;) )

What if, instead of covering with plain pasta sauce, you made some with meat - either Ital sausage or hamburger?

I'm going to try this. But I don't think I will put the white sauce on the bottom. I'll just use a little extra red sauce for the bottom. Too lazy to make the white sauce and might save a few calories.

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that sounds like a great idea - also a one pan wonder :) i am going to try it with the white sauce and sausage in marinara (red) - i have one batch of red sauce left in the freezer that this will work great with - yeh!

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made this for dinner tonight and it was DEE-LISH-OUS!!! thank you so much for posting the recipe :) it was easy to make and daughter said she had this at a restaurant and that these were better. thank you thank you :)

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made this for dinner tonight and it was DEE-LISH-OUS!!! thank you so much for posting the recipe :) it was easy to make and daughter said she had this at a restaurant and that these were better. thank you thank you :)

Awww...this made my day! Glad you liked it.

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I'm thinkin' this might make a wonderful alternative Thanksgiving main course this year. I'm not a huge turkey fan.

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This sounds sooooo good. I just bought all the ingredients and am going to make it tonight. I'm going to try it with just the red sauce to save on fat and calories like a previous poster mentioned. Before I had to go gluten-free, one of my favorite meals was the spinach/cheese raviolis. I love anything with the spinach/cheese combo.

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We just got through eating and it was wonderful. My husband really liked the dumplings and so did I! I think he was surprised since there was no pasta in it. I only used a marinara sauce since I wanted to save on the fat and it was exceptional. I can't imagine how good it would be with the bechamel sauce too. Just sinful.

Also, the ricotta cheese was only 15 oz. I used the Lucerne brand. What brand did you use that came in a container of 1 lb 2 oz?

So, thanks for the recipe. This is a keeper and I'll probably have it for lunch tomorrow.

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We just got through eating and it was wonderful. My husband really liked the dumplings and so did I! I think he was surprised since there was no pasta in it. I only used a marinara sauce since I wanted to save on the fat and it was exceptional. I can't imagine how good it would be with the bechamel sauce too. Just sinful.

Also, the ricotta cheese was only 15 oz. I used the Lucerne brand. What brand did you use that came in a container of 1 lb 2 oz?

So, thanks for the recipe. This is a keeper and I'll probably have it for lunch tomorrow.

Btw Trader Joe's sells "fresh" ricotta. I have no idea what size container...

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We just got through eating and it was wonderful. My husband really liked the dumplings and so did I! I think he was surprised since there was no pasta in it. I only used a marinara sauce since I wanted to save on the fat and it was exceptional. I can't imagine how good it would be with the bechamel sauce too. Just sinful.

Also, the ricotta cheese was only 15 oz. I used the Lucerne brand. What brand did you use that came in a container of 1 lb 2 oz?

So, thanks for the recipe. This is a keeper and I'll probably have it for lunch tomorrow.

I think I used a 15 or 16 oz ricotta. I think it wouldn't matter very much either way.

Maybe I'll try it with marinara only instead of bechamel, as I'm losing weight and watching calories so I've been craving it, but haven't given into temptation!

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PricklyPear - I didn't know there was a difference between "fresh" and regular ricotta. I'll have to check out TJ's.

CyperProf - Is there an easy way to squeeze the water out of the spinach? I used paper towels but was thinking there must be a better way. We're having this again tonight!

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PricklyPear - I didn't know there was a difference between "fresh" and regular ricotta. I'll have to check out TJ's.

CyperProf - Is there an easy way to squeeze the water out of the spinach? I used paper towels but was thinking there must be a better way. We're having this again tonight!

jenny: did you use frozen spinach? i used fresh/uncooked - i had my doubts when i started mixing them into the ricotta (which i used ricotta from the refrigerator case - sargento? i think)and i was thinking 'wow, it would've been easier if i had used frozen/cooked' but it started mixing together and the dumplings weren't hard to form and i had no problem with excess water.

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PricklyPear - I didn't know there was a difference between "fresh" and regular ricotta. I'll have to check out TJ's.

CyperProf - Is there an easy way to squeeze the water out of the spinach? I used paper towels but was thinking there must be a better way. We're having this again tonight!

I have this thing, I don't know what it's called. It looks like a mesh or screen door screen made into a bowl shape . I push the thawed spinach into it very hard. It like a colander. I'll see if I can find a pic.

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I have this thing, I don't know what it's called. It looks like a mesh or screen door screen made into a bowl shape . I push the thawed spinach into it very hard. It like a colander. I'll see if I can find a pic.

I had one and threw it out post gluten.

Loved it.

Fine-mesh colander /strainer.

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This strainer:

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=11586104&RN=212&

There are cheaper ones ( I have the cheap one). I didn't throw mine out because we only used it for fruit & veggie & beans & hamburger.

Yep that's it. Used it for everything because of the small size and long handle, hooks on sides. Definitely need another.

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NotMe - I did use frozen spinach. I thought it would be easier. Next time I will go for the fresh spinach. I pretty much went the easy way on all the ingredients except the parmigiana cheese. I bought good cheese and grated it myself.

Kareng and Pricklypear - thanks so much for the strainer info. I will get one.

As you can tell, I'm not the most advanced cook, but I can usually follow a recipe. Thanks to all of you for being so patient with me!

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I made this. Yum! I only used about a pound of fresh spinach & wilted it in the microwave. Didn't want it to taste too spinachy. Probably could have used 1/2 lb more for our tastes. I just used jarred marinara sauce. Hub wants me to add ital sausage either to the sauce or crumbled finely in the dumpling.

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