There are times when the earth aligns with the other planets, and everything is harmonious and good. This recipe is indicative of one of those times.
This is another Lombardy recipe, and they are one of the few regions in Italy where they aren’t all that fond of pasta. So leave it to these folks to create a ravioli dish, minus the pasta. In the end, these are spinach and ricotta cheese dumplings, but oh..my..god..are they good.
The creaminess of the ricotta cheese blends well with the nutty spinach. Then to top it off with a basic tomato sauce, butter and parmesan cheese? Fuhgetaboutit. This is a dish that I will most assuredly make again.
The spinach requires the most work, because you have to cook it, and then remove as much water as you can from the leafs. This is not an easy task. But watery spinach will lead to your dumplings falling apart, so it’s a neccessity.
- 4 lbs spinach, washed with stems removed
- 2 cups ricotta cheese, mashed
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- 1/2 cup flour
- 5 T butter, melted
Steam your spinach in a covered pan. I used my pasta pot (with its built in strainer) and that worked well. You’re dealing with a lot of spinach here so be patient. Once cooked, strain your spinach in colander or sieve. Press out as much water as possible. Use your hands to squeeze out any additional water. Then place on a paper towl in order to drain. Seriously here, if you think you’ve done enough to remove the water, do a little more. I am intentionally belaboring a point here for the purpose of a dish.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add ricotta and mash with a fork. Add in the eggs, nutmeg, salt, pepper to taste, and 1/2 a cup of Parmesan. Before adding the spinach to the mixture, chop well. Add to the ricotta cheese, and fold in thoroughly.
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Form the ricotta cheese into balls roughly the size of walnuts. Lightly roll in flour, just enough to coat. If the flour cakes, you’ve a bit too much. place dumpling in boiling water. Once the dumpling floats, remove to a warmed serving dish. Once all have cooked, pour the melted butter over the malfatti and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan.
Plate and top with a simple tomatoe sauce.