Potato dumplings, Italian-style

October 20, 1999

Gnocchi are plump Italian potato dumplings. As they are featured in these Potato Gnocchi With Quick Meat Sauce, they are light, yet filling. A serving has only 7.5 grams of fat. The meat sauce is made with juicy tomatoes seasoned with onion, garlic and oregano.

The recipe is from "The No-Time to-Cook Cookbook" (Avery, $19.95) by Joanne Abrams and Marie Caratozzolo. They subtitle their book "Fabulous dishes for today's fast-paced lifestyle," and say no recipe takes more than 45 minutes to make. They limit the number of ingredients they call for and keep directions simple.

And they promise that all their recipes, including such treats as Grilled Eggplant With Mozzarella and Arugula Heroes, and Orange-Glazed Bananas Over Ice Cream, are suitable for a low-fat diet.

They point out that many major grocery stores and gourmet shops carry both fresh and frozen gnocchi to use in this recipe.

Potato Gnocchi With Quick Meat Sauce

Serves 4

cooking spray

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons minced garlic

12 ounces 93-percent-lean ground beef

29-ounce can no-sodium crushed tomatoes in puree

14.5-ounce can low-sodium tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds gnocchi

Coat a 4-quart pot with cooking spray, add the oil, and preheat over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.

Add the ground beef and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring to crumble, until no pink remains.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, oregano, garlic powder and black pepper. Increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After the sauce has been simmering for 10 to 15 minutes, bring a 4-quart pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the gnocchi, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they float to the top.

Drain the gnocchi, and divide the dumplings among individual serving bowls. Top with the sauce and serve.

Per serving: 570 calories; 85 grams carbohydrates; 71.5 milligrams cholesterol; 7.5 grams fat; 9 grams fiber; 38 grams protein; 677 milligrams sodium

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