The Italian word Malfatti literally means “badly shaped”, but despite their name Malfatti are delicious dumplings made with fresh ricotta cheese and spinach.
This is a traditional Lombard first course but it can be found in other regions under different names. In the city of Florence they are called GNUDI (naked) and in Trentino Alto Adige region (northeastern Italy) are known as STRANGOLAPRETI (strangler priests).
Malfatti are usually tossed with browned butter and sage sauce or homemade tomato sauce.
Photo by Ale Gambini – BreadLoveAndDreams
SERVINGS : 4-6
PREP TIME : 30 min.
COOKING TIME : 2 min.
DIFFICULTY : easy
12 oz spinach, boiled and squeezed dry
9 oz fresh ricotta cheese
1.5 cups Béchamel sauce
1.5 cups Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese, grated
1.5 cups breadcrumbs
For The Béchamel Sauce
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp flour 00
2 cups whole milk, warm
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground nutmeg
Prepare the Béchamel Sauce by heating the butter until it melts, then remove from heat and add the flour, whisking until smooth. Pour in the warm milk little by little, whisking continuously until well combined. Return to a boil, add nutmeg, salt and stir until thickened. Set aside.
Chop the spinach and place them in a large mixing bowl.
Add the ricotta cheese and mix until just combined.
Add the Béchamel sauce, the egg, the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and the breadcrumbs. Mix thoroughly until well combined.
Flour a work surface, then divide the dough into golf-sized balls. Roll each balls into a log (1 inch thick) then cut each log into dumplings about 1 inch wide.
Bring to a boil a large pot of salted water, then gently dump in the Malfatti and cook until they rise to the top (about 2 minutes).
Drain the Malfatti with a slotted spoon.
Toss the Malfatti with your favorite sauce or condiment and serve sprinkled with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.