Prep 0 mins
Cook 17 mins
From the cookbook The Geometry of Pasta. A most intriguing recipe from Italy! Note: Working with the dough is a little tricky therefore beginner cooks may have some difficulty. fyi I didn't have quite enough spinach for the recipe, I added a small amount of baby bok choy leaves and arugula.
- 2 -2 1⁄4 cups fresh spinach (1/2 pound)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
- 1 large egg
- generous 1/3 cup unbleached flour, plus plenty of extra for rolling
- 1 few sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper, to taste
- tomato sauce, for serving (a simple meatless marinara will do)
- 12 sage leaves (I used tri-color sage from the garden and sliced them into thin ribbons)
- 1⁄3 cup butter
- Note: I chopped the spinach finely in a food processor (only too about 5 seconds) then boiled it very briefly-about 15 seconds in boiling, salted water. Refreshed the spinach under cold running water in a fine mesh strainer and used a wooded spoon to squeeze out the excess water. The original recipes reads: Boil the spinach in well-salted water until tender, refresh under cool running water, and squeeze as dry as you can. Chop spinach finely (either in a food processor for evenly green dumplings or with a knife for a speckled appearance.).
- Mix the spinach with the ricotta and other ingredients except salt, pepper and tomato sauce to make a very soft dough.
- Season lightly with salt and pepper, but not with a heavy hand — the flavors are very subtle.
- Roll  golf ball-sized lump as round as you can in plenty of flour. The dough is so soft you will never manage a sphere, but that is why they are called malfatti. I used an oiled cookie scoop to shape the dough. I soon realized the less I touch the dough, the better. May take a few times preparing this recipe to get the hang of it.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil (the spinach water is fine if you still have it) and drop in the ball to make sure it is strong enough not to break up. If the ball doesn't break apart, roll the rest of your dough to make about a dozen dumplings. If it isn’t, mix a bit more flour in, and then roll the balls.
- Cook at a gentle simmer for 10-15 minutes, counting from when they rise to the surface. You can take them out sooner if you like an oozing middle. I cooked the malfatti a solid fifteen minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the dumplings to a serving platter.
- Two topping options and I tested both: Topping #1. Serve malfatti on a bed of warm tomato sauce and top with grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese.
- Topping #2: Or fry butter with 12 sage leaves until the leaves are crispy and the butter nutty; pour directly on top of the malfatti. Serve with amount of grated Parmesan. However, I skipped the Parmesan cheese for topping #2.