Malfatti or Gnocchi Gnudi (Pasta Without the Pasta)

Recipe by Akikobay
READY IN: 30mins


  • 4
    lbs spinach (after cleaning and trimming stems, this should yield about 2 1/2 pounds of useable spinach)
  • 2
    cups ricotta cheese (fresh)
  • 2
    egg yolks
  • 14
    teaspoon nutmeg (grated)
  • 12
    cup parmesan cheese (grated fine)
  • breadcrumbs (very dry, up to 1/4 cup, only if necessary)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • flour, for dusting
  • 5
    tablespoons butter (melted)


  • Wash the cleaned spinach and shake off the moisture until only a small amount of water clings to the leaves. Steam lightly until just wilted. Drain the spinach well.
  • Put the spinach into a lint-free dish towel and squeeze out the water. Twist the dish towel and squeeze more water out. Keep squeezing the spinach until you truly believe that you've gotten all the water out. Now, continue to squeeze out the remaining water. Spread out the spinach onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with paper towels to soak up any remaining moisture. If it looks sort of dry and a bit stringy, you're ready to move on.
  • Mix the ricotta cheese, egg yolks, nutmeg, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Chop the spinach into small pieces. Do not use a food processor for this process, you are looking for pieces not puree. Add the spinach to the ricotta mixture.
  • Pull out a small ball of "dough" and make a walnut-shaped dumpling. The dough will be very very soft, but it should hold together. If you truly believe that you MUST add some breadcrumbs, do so a little bit at a time. Added breadcrumbs will take away from the angel's pillow tenderness that true malfatti boast. Continue on with shaping the little balls.
  • Lightly dust each dumpling with the flour and set aside on a cookie sheet, being careful to use the smallest amount of flour for each dumpling.
  • Boil 10 cups of salted water in a large pot. When the water is boiling, turn down the heat so you get a nice simmer.
  • Drop the malfatti into the water one at a time, making sure that you don't crowd them in the pot. As the dumplings rise to the surface, carefully pull them out using a strainer spoon and place in a large bowl.
  • After all the malfatti are in the bowl, sprinkle on the butter and plate. Serve with a light tomato cream sauce and a good dusting of the best parmesan cheese you can find.