A curated collection of recipes for type 1 and type 2 diabetes by a diabetes educator and nutritionist, complete with nutritional information.
I was not looking for a recipe for pasta at all. Things pop up on your internet feed based on searches for other things. This recipe looked interesting and something fun to make with my boys. The best thing is that the recipe is meant to be imperfect in terms of what it looks like once you get the little oddly shaped balls of pasta. The name, malfatti, literally means “badly made” – super great when you are working with a 6- and 10-year-old, and “perfect” is not in the game!
These are super yummy and very filling. NOT low carb, but also not a hit in terms of glucose control either. In fact, I found them to be very slow and easy to cover.
*I adjusted to using Firm, ground tofu instead of Ricotta cheese in the recipe and I chose to do the “log roll” method described and then cut the logs into small pieces with scissors which made the “balls” of dough a bit more even.
Photos are mine as I prepped the badly made balls of pasta, and then once cooked it was good with a pepper pesto sauce and some grilled chicken with sun-dried tomatoes.
Easy to make and the win was the slow, minimal impact on blood glucose!
8 oz. fresh ricotta (or firm tofu – ground to crumbles)
2 lightly beaten eggs.
3 oz. finely grated Parmesan
Pinch of nutmeg
½ tsp salt
¼-1/2 tsp ground pepper
6oz (about 1 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour (gluten-free will work as well)
Sauce of your choice or serve with garlic butter sauce.
In a large pot of boiling salted water just until wilted, 1–2 minutes (make it 8–10 if using frozen). Drain, let cool, then squeeze out any excess water, and chop them coarsely with a knife or a blender (skip the cutting if your frozen spinach came prechopped). The squeezing is really the only must when making malfatti:
If the spinach retains too much water, chances are you’ll have trouble working the dough later. So, give them a powerful squeeze!
In a pan, melt butter, add the smashed garlic clove, and then add the spinach. Sauté the greens gently for 5 minutes, turning them occasionally—this helps bump up their flavor and staves off additional moisture. Remove from the heat, discard the garlic, and set aside to let cool.
Take a large bowl, and dump in ricotta or tofu, beaten eggs grated Parmesan, and reserved spinach. Add a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper, and use a spatula to combine all the ingredients.
Lastly, tip in all-purpose flour. It’s important to always add the flour last—you’re after a silky, soft texture here, and adding the flour last prevents the dough from getting too dry. Now mix everything with your hands until you form a malleable dough ball (don’t worry if it’s still pretty sticky), about 3 minutes.
Start shaping your malfatti. Flour a work surface, then take small pieces of dough and roll them into an oblong shape (think gnocchi, but a bit bigger and longer). Roll each malfatti into the flour as needed to prevent sticking, then place on a lightly floured baking sheet. You’ll get somewhere between 20–30 pieces. (You can also take the gnocchi approach: Divide the dough into four big pieces, roll each into a long log, and cut into nuggets.)
To cook the malfatti, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and drop them in. Once they rise to the surface (4–5 minutes), remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon or skimmer and transfer them into a saucepan where you’ll have your sauce going.
The classic recipe calls for butter, Parmesan, and sage, so stir together some butter (half a stick, or to your liking), 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan, and a handful of sage in a pan, then gently toss the malfatti into the mixture, adding a little cooking water at a time, until you’ve reached your preferred creamy consistency.
Treat this as a basic template and fancy up your pasta with whatever sauce you want.
You can keep them in the fridge for up to two days or even freeze the uncooked dumplings (as long as they’re in an airtight container) for a homemade meal at the ready.
Nutrition Information Values
Nutrition Facts: recipe makes enough for 4 people.
*For log roll and small pieces it makes about 50 pieces – with each piece about 2-3g carbs each
Integrated Diabetes Services, Director of Lifestyle and Nutrition.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Biology from the University of Wisconsin. She is a Registered (and Licensed) Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Certified Trainer on most makes/models of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems.