Easy Low Carb Keto Ricotta Gnocchi is a melt-in-the-mouth, tasty, ketogenic version of the traditional recipe.
I love Italian food sooooo much. Bread. Pasta. Polenta. Semolina. Pizza. Gnocchi. Makes me drool just thinking about them all. But ketogenic life is prohibitive when it comes to many traditional Italian dishes because they are often based on what Italians themselves call ‘cucina povera’, i.e. ‘poor cuisine’, so termed because their main ingredient is grains, and in historical times of hardship grains were the only cheap food available to everyone.
So how does one cope with staying in ketosis AND indulge in Italian food? Surely that’s a paradox! But there are ways… you just have to be a little bit inventive and a little bit maverick! So here is my keto gnocchi story….
A mozzarella gnocchi nightmare
I woke up one morning thinking about how to make gnocchi without white flour or potatoes, and it quickly became my morning obsession. I searched the internet for inspiration and sure enough lots of low carb gnocchi recipes popped up, all using mozzarella as the main ingredient, all very similar. The photos looked nice, the recipes seemed simple enough, so off I went to buy the recommended dry type of mozzarella. By ‘dry’ I mean the industrial mozzarella type that is vacuum packed and dry. Finding it proved to be an issue to start with. You see, I am currently at my house in Italy, and produce here tends to be seasonal, local and authentic. So I drove to 3 different shop before I eventually found ‘dry’ mozzarella. Not a good start.
Later on, my Italian ragú was simmering away and I started making the gnocchi, following recipe instructions to the letter. Sure enough, problem number two didn’t hide for long: my microwave melted mozzarella was just a ball of chewing gum swimming in cloudy water. Problem number three came next. As I continued to microwave the mozzarella chewing gum into submission, the most horrid smell of molten plastic was filling my kitchen.
Concerned, but determined to see the recipe through and have my gnocchi dinner, I ploughed on, trying not to gag. Still the chewing gum would not budge, so I decided that maybe, just maybe, adding the other ingredients would help, and I carried on, attempting to knead the impossible. A lot of frustration later, I took the squidgy, egg-wet rubbery ball from the bowl and nearly threw it over the field. But no. I had nothing else for dinner, and surely it would be edible? Unable to roll, shape or cut the alien mass, I pulled it apart into stringy blobs that I then plunged in boiling water.
Needless to say that the blobs almost dissolved in the hot water, and all I could do was scoop strings out with a sieve.
Trying not to be defeatist, I ate the chewing gum strings, which now resembled the same plastic mass I was trying to knead earlier. Topped with my ragú and lots of Parmesan, they didn’t taste too bad. Within an hour, however, my stomach was tight and felt uncomfortable. I hardly slept. I was in pain most of the night. That was that. End of mozzarella gnocchi for me.
Now, I am not suggesting for a minute that the recipe I’d looked at was flawed. It was likely down to the ‘mozzarella’ I used. I hope I never come across that fake crap, ever, again.
A ricotta gnocchi delight
After a painful night’s sleep half-dreaming about my house being flooded with chewing gum and me drowning inside, I got up with a fighting spirit and thought of an alternative. Ricotta. Why not? I use it in cakes, biscuits, pastry and cold desserts. So why not in gnocchi?
And with that, I cycled off to my favourite shop to buy some fresh ricotta.
The fresh counter ricotta was fairly dry already, but to be on the safe side, I wrapped it in muslin cloth, popped it in a colander on top of a bowl and left it in the fridge for a few hours. If you buy packaged ricotta, it will be quite wet and you should strain it for 24 hours.
Once I mixed it with an egg and some lupin flour, I ended up with a very soft mix. Certainly not something I could roll out over a surface and cut – as I would have done in the past with a classic gnocchi mixture.
And there comes the most ‘difficult’ part of this recipe: shaping quenelles. If you’ve ever watched Masterchef, you’ll know what to do. If not, making a quenelle means scooping a bit of mix with one spoon and then scooping it out again with the other spoon, over and over until you have a walnut-size egg shape. It’s really easy, but it may take some practice to get right, if you’ve never done it before.
Was it worth persisting on day 2? You bet! These beautifully soft and delicate easy low carb keto ricotta gnocchi were just divine!
I must admit that, as I was making quenelles and placing them on a flat dish, I worried about them being too soft. But to my surprise, they held their shape very well once plunged into the boiling water, and actually firmed up somehow. (Since that first attempt, I have been using Guar Gum and the gnocchi hold out even better)
I served them piping hot, topped with my Italian ragú (re-heated left-over from the previous night) and plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
I have eaten these regularly since then and they’ve never failed me. Always great. Always delicious.
I hope you will try my Easy Low Carb Keto Ricotta Gnocchi. You will not be disappointed.
Enjoy my new, updated recipe!
- Servings: 2
- Serving size: 1
- Calories: 270
- Fat: 17.5g
- Net Carbs: 5.5g
- Protein: 18g
- wrap the ricotta in a cheesecloth and place it in a sieve over a bowl for 24 hours.
- put strained ricotta in a medium bowl and whisk so as to get rid of any lumps.
- break the whole egg directly into the ricotta bowl, add salt and stir gently, using a fork.
- incorporate lupin flour and guar gum.
- scatter coconut flour over a plate.
- using 2 teaspoons, form quinels of ricotta mix, the size of small walnuts, easing each one onto the coconut flour plate.
- roll them gently in the coconut flour to coat them, and finally transfer them to another plate, nicely spaced from each other.
- you should end up with 32 gnocchi.
- put the gnocchi in the fridge while you bring a medium size pot of salted water to the boil.
- with the water on full boil, gently ease 7-8 gnocchi into it by hand, in quick succession, one at a time.
- as soon as they float, remove the gnocchi with a straining ladle and put them onto a serving plate.
- discard the coconut flour foam that will gather both on the ladle and at the top of the boiling water.
- repeat until you've cooked all the gnocchi.
- tilt the serving plate and soak up any remaining water that may seep out, using a kitchen paper towel.
- serve topped with plenty of Italian ragú and lots of freshly grated Parmesan.