Talk Takeaway: Cooking with Rocco Dispirito

Posted on Jul 19, 2013 10:45am

These are the recipes featured on Friday's show with Rocco Dispirito from his cookbook "Now Eat This Italian" in stores now!

Ricotta Gnudi

Before—Fat: 32g   Calories: 503

After:     Fat: 8.5g  Calories: 251

Serves Four



1 cup no sugar added marinara sauce, such as Trader Joe's

1 cup fat-free ricotta

¾ cup whole milk ricotta

2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour

1 ounce Parmigano-Reggiano, grated

½ cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves

Pinch of ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons of egg white powder

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup cornstarch


Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a short, wide pot like a chicken fryer and add 2 tablespoons salt. Heat the marinara a medium saucepan over medium-high heat to a simmer and turn off the heat.

Combine both ricottas, the pastry flour, three-quarters of the Parmigiano, the basil, nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon of the egg white powder in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir everything together with a rubber spatula until mixed thoroughly.

Scoop out 20 heaping tablespoons of the mixture, place them on a backing sheet, and form then into small balls with your hands. Place the balls in the freezer for about 6 minutes to harden.

Place the cornstarch in a shallow baking dish; place the remaining 3 tablespoons egg white powder in a separate shallow baking dish. Roll the balls first in the egg white powder to coat very well, then roll the balls in the cornstarch until they are completely coated.

Drop the balls into the rapidly boiling water and cook precisely for 2 minutes. Divide the hot marinara sauce among 4 bowls. Remove the gnudi with a slotted spoon and place them directly in the bowls. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano.

Caprese Salad

Before—Fat: 42g   Calories: 450

After:     Fat: 11.7g  Calories: 167

Yield: 4 adult lunch/dinner salads

Prep time: approximately 10 minutes, cook time: approximately 0 minutes


3 large ripe tomatoes (1.2 pounds total), heirloom when possible

6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4" thick

12 leaves of fresh basil, torn into small pieces, stems reserved

4 tablespoons super olive oil

Salt and fresh ground black pepper


Slice the tomatoes into 16 even ½ inch thick slices. Season lightly with salt and pepper and then top each slice with a slice of mozzarella, then season again lightly with salt and pepper.

Arrange 4 tomato and cheese stacks per plate on four small salad plates and scatter the mozzarella with basil. Drizzle each plate with 1 tablespoon each of super olive oil/


Add arugula and red onions for a higher fiber bulking agent to create a larger main course salad.

Peaches and Prosecco with Almond Cream

Before—Fat: 28g   Calories: 567

After:     Fat: 2.5g  Calories: 184

Serves Four


4 ripe peaches

2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

½ cup skim milk

2 tablespoons raw agave nectar

½ teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon egg white powder (look in the baking aisle)

4 (4-ounce) glasses rose Prosecco


Cut the peaches in half using a sharp knife and remove the pits. Turn the peaches cut-side-down on a cutting board and cut them into large bite-size chunks.

Spoon the peaches into a large serving bowl and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Combine the milk, agave nectar, and almond extract in a medium bowl and blend with a hand blender until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Add the egg white powder and blend for about 20 seconds, until it becomes frothy.

Spoon some of the mixture over the peaches and serve with a glass of Prosecco.


Tuna Crudo

Before—Fat: 90   Calories: 428

After:     Fat: 4  Calories: 103

Serves Four


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


1 (8-ounce) loin sushi-grade yellowfin tuna, cut into --ince domino--size slices (about 24 slices)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon brince from capers or caper berries

1 tablespoon chopped jarred hot Italian chiles, such as Victoria

Freshly ground black pepper


Brush the center of 4 round appetizer plates with olive oil, then very lightly sprinkle with salt.  

Lay the tuna slices over the seasoned olive oil.

Combine the lemon juice, klemon zest, caper brine, and chiles in a small bowl.  

Spoon the mixture evenly over each slize of tuna.  

Drizzle the top of each plate with the reamining olive oil.

Season the tuna with salt and pepper.  

Let stand for 2 to 4 minutrs, depending on your desires texture, then serve immediately.   


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