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Dumplings or gnocchi made with spinach or ricotta. From Italy, the name Malfatto means badly made (because they resemble ravioli without their pasta envelopes.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Difficulty: Medium - some experience needed
Serves: 4

Dietary guidance: v 

Tags: spinach · main · italian · ricotta · dumpling · malfatti ·


4 lbs spinach, washed with stems removed (or 2 - 10oz pkgs frozen spinach)
2 cups ricotta cheese, mashed
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 cup flour
5 T butter, melted
3 fresh sage leaves


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.

Melt butter in small saucepan. Add sage leaves and simmer on low until butter is slightly brown. Remove sage leaves and keep butter warm.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add ricotta and mash with a fork. Add in the green onions, bread crumbs, garlic, 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 large pot of salted water to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmering boil. Form the ricotta cheese into balls roughly the size of walnuts. Add 1 tablespoon of flour into a tall thin wine glass. Drop one malfatti into the glass. Swirl glass to coat malfatti with flour. Repeat with other malfatti, adding more flour as necessary. The malfatii should be lightly coated in flour. If the flour cakes, you've a bit too much. Place dumpling in lightly boiling water. Once the dumpling floats (about 6-8 minutes), remove to a warmed serving dish. Test mixture by boiling 1-2 dumplings. If they are too soft, add 1-2 tablespoons of flour to the mixture.

Once all have cooked, pour the brown butter and sage sauce over the malfatti and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan.

For a lighter version, you can forget the sage butter and drizzle a light tomato sauce over dumplings instead.

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