Tag Archives: ricotta

Malfatti

malfatti

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.

Serves 4


Frittelle di Ricotta

Frittelle di Ricotta

I’ve been lagging on my Italian food posts. There’s really no excuse for it, so my intent is to up the amount of recipes for the next region (Emilia-Romagna) to five or six posts, not including. Emilia-Romagna has such a vast culinary repertoire, that I think it fits in nicely.

These are appetizers, Ricotta Fritters if you will. It’s incredibly simple. I was able to set up my cast iron skillet with enough olive oil to fry these up just right. If you do fry with a skillet, remember that the oil should go up no further than 3/4 up the side of the pan.

  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon rum

Combine the ricotta, flour, salt, egg and rum in a medium mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the refigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat your olive oil in a sauce pan or skillet (use a sauce pan to have more depth to play with.. I had to finagle the skillet every now and then to get these to fry up thoroughly). Bring the oil up to 375 degrees F.

Spoon the dough into the heated oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to drain on papertowels, salt (or even powdered sugar…but, um…not both) and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6


Ricotta Cake

Ricotta Cake

I’m pretty sure this is now one of my favorite desserts. Rum, cheese, sugar, cinnamon…seriously, for a dessert without chocolate, this holds up very well.

Based off of an Italian dessert called Budino du Ricotta, it’s better to approach this as a pudding, rather than a cake. Oh sure, there are cake elements, but truthfully this is far more delicate than a your typical “cake”.

Enjoy!

  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • grated rind from 2 lemons
  • 5 Tablespoons rum

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, pour in the ricotta cheese and whisk until you get the consistency you desire (I like my ricotta grainy, but others enjoy it a little smoother). Add 4 egg yolks (saving the whites for later) and thoroughly incorporate. Mix in the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add the lemon rind and rum and stir in well.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until you have stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the ricotta cheese, leaving the batter fully incorporated, yet soft and light. Pour in a buttered cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until firm (Check it about 35 minutes in).

You can serve warm, but the cake will be difficult to maintain its structure. I prefer to chill the cake for 3 hours before serving.

Serves 6 – 8