The Enemy You Gnocchi By Catherine Bruns: Review/Giveaway/Recipe

Nov 20, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Food Fun, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

This week we are reviewing the latest Italian Chef Mystery by Catherine Bruns, and we also have a recipe for an Italian dessert for your Thanksgiving! Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a links to purchase it.

The Enemy You Gnocchi: A Italian Chef Mystery by Catherine Bruns
Review by Kathleen Costa

Buon Appetito!
It’s Harvest Park, New York, and Theresa “Tessa” Esposito, Tess to some, had everything, but unfortunately, last year her life turned upside down when her husband was killed in a tragic auto accident that would later be confirmed as murder. It was a tragic time, but Tessa always found cooking to be her best therapy. She has fond memories of the sights, smells, and tastes of all the Italian delicacies bubbling in her grandmother’s kitchen, and now, in the kitchen of her own restaurant, Anything’s Pastable, she is making memories of her own for family, friends, and guests with many of those same recipes to which she’s adding some of her own touches. Lately, however, she’s had to be a bit creative uncovering the truth about some murder mysteries and staying out of the way of local law enforcement as she’s been directly involved bringing a killer to justice.

The Enemy You Gnocchi Earns 5/5 Buon Natale Greetings…Entertaining Fun!
The local theater is producing A Christmas Story, the Festival of Lights is set to support a local charity, and the town is dressed for holiday cheer, all to make for a happy holiday season, but there’s a Grinch in all of this in the form of Mario Russo, one of the newest local businessman. His The Espresso Lane coffeehouse with its freebies, giveaways, and cut-rate pricing, is an “across the street” competitor of Tessa’s good friend Archie Fenton’s Java Time. He also seems to have a creepy “thing” for Tessa and, to her frustration, refuses to take no for an answer which included his grabbing her arm to get her continued attention. She’s also surprised to learn the man who usually plays Santa at the festival is sick and Mario’s been pegged to take his place, but isn’t Archie suppose to be the back up? Mario’s even pressuring Tessa to hire him as her own Santa figure for her Breakfast with Santa event on Christmas Eve. [Enter karma] Mario is found dead.

Ho, Ho, Whole Lotta Fun! Catherine Bruns has lit up the holiday season with an exciting third book in her Italian Chef Mystery series with karma stepping in to rid the town of a less than “jolly old elf.” The victim isn’t the best to play the red-suited man with rumors of loan sharks, questionable dealings, disgruntled business owners, and a string of women instead of Ho-Ho-Hos. The stockings are filled with ample suspects, and having a close friend at the top of the list, of course, is the best way to spur on Tessa’s involvement. The murder mystery slowly reveals secrets, clues, and reasonable motives (a must for me), along with the in and out of Tessa’s daily cooking at her restaurant, gatherings with family, and navigating her relationship with good friend Justin. And Wow! a great ending…Watch out!

Mangiamo! Let’s eat, Catherine Bruns style! Along with descriptions of many mouthwatering Italian treats, Catherine includes easy-to-follow recipes to enjoy ourselves: Christmas Thyme Cookies, Gingerbread Pizzelle, Harvest Park Hot Chocolate Cookies, and of course, Tessa’s Easy Gnocchi.

An Italian Chef Mystery

Penne Dreadful (2019) KRL Review HERE
It Cannoli Be Murder (2020) KRL News Review HERE
The Enemy You Gnocchi (2021)

Be a Big Catherine Bruns Fan!
Catherine Bruns has penned some of my favorite cozy series: Italian Cookies & Chance Mystery series following Sally Muccio (Donovan) and the cryptic messages found in her fortune cookies; Cindy York Mystery illustrating the murderous side of real estate; Carrie Jorgenson series in the GHP Aloha Lagoon Mystery multi-author collection giving us a delightful Hawaiian setting. When asked how writing has impacted her life, she replied, “It’s changed forever. If I don’t write for a day or two, it feels like part of me is missing. I can’t imagine doing anything else and wouldn’t want to.”

Catherine Bruns Books (Facebook)
Catherine Bruns (Website)
Newsletter Sign Up—Catherine Bruns

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

From Catherine Bruns

1 box white cake mix
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 2/3 cup ricotta cheese (I used the whole milk kind)
1 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup min chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spray bottom of pan with Pam or grease with butter. Prepare cake mix according to directions on the box for a 9 by 13 inch pan. Remove cake from the oven and poke holes all over the top of the cake with a straw. Pour about 2/3 cup of the sweetened condensed milk over the cake. Place cake in the refrigerator for about an hour.

In the meantime, combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix until smooth. Add powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk to mixture until combined. If the icing seems runny, you can add up to another cup of powdered sugar.

Spread mixture over the cake. Top with chocolate chips and refrigerate for at least two hours.

1-1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese can be substituted for the cream cheese and sour cream if preferred

To enter to win a copy of The Enemy You Gnocchi, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “enemy,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 27, 2021. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week.

You can use these links to purchase the book or click here. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link:

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. The Enemy You Gnocchi: A Italian Chef Mystery by Catherine Bruns sounds like a delicious and entertaining read!

  3. New author to me. Would really like to read. Thanks for the chance.

  4. When it was time to make a turkey
    for the big meal, I also had to make
    a spaghetti and meatballs. My
    husband didn’t eat turkey (my
    grandmother spoiled him) so
    he got the special meal. I have
    to admit that the rest of us did
    help him eat it. Sounds like a fun
    read. thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  5. Loving this series, can’t wait to try out this cake recipe.

  6. Sounds like my kind of read and thanks for the recipe!

  7. i am a fan of this cozy author! i love the clever title of this book!

  8. I love food-related cozies and am always up for an author new to me.

    P.O.Box 140
    Saint Helen,MI 48656

  9. Sounds like a really good one and what a great cover.

  10. We have a winner!


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