spinach and ricotta malfatti
Malfatti, which translates to “badly-made” in Italian, are essentially misshapen balls of ravioli filling. Sometimes referred to as a type of gnocchi, they are actually much lighter and less stodgy due to the lack of potatoes and only a touch of flour in the mix. Not much to look at but so delicious and especially great if you’re craving pasta but want something low in carbs with plenty of greens. There’s cheese of course, but ricotta is much better for you than most, and if you substitute the sage butter with tomato sauce it makes for a rather healthy (and tasty) supper indeed!
Spinach and Ricotta Malfatti
(serves 2 as main, 4 as a starter)
500g spinach leaves
2 large eggs
1 heaped tbsp ‘00’ flour
100g fine semolina flour
25g parmesan, freshly grated
80g unsalted butter
freshly grated nutmeg
15-20 sage leaves
Place the spinach leaves in a large saucepan with a splash of water and heat on a medium flame for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Drain in a colander and run under a cold tap to refresh, then squeeze out excess water. Finely chop the spinach and set aside.
In a large bowl break the ricotta up with a fork then add the spinach, eggs, parmesan, flour, a generous grating of nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
Put a little semolina flour (about 1-2 cm deep) into a wine glass then drop in a dessertspoonful of the spinach mixture. Swirl it around in the wine glass to coat well with semolina and form into a ball. Tip out onto a floured tray and repeat with the remaining mixture, adding semolina to the glass as needed.
Cook the malfatti in batches in a large pan of boiling salted water to the boil. After a few minutes they will float, at which point you take them out with a slotted spoon and place in a low oven on plates to keep warm.
When all the malfatti are done, make your sage butter. Melt the butter in a small pan on a low heat then sprinkle in the sage leaves. Once they start to wilt and darken, take the butter off heat and drizzle over the warm malfatti.
Grate a little extra parmesan on top and eat quickly, before they get cold.