Ricotta & Spinach Malfatti with Sweet Tomato Basil Sauce
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A completely vegetarian dish adapted from an old recipe from Lombardy - very delicate, light and... addictive homemade flourless gnocchi served with a sweet and healthy sauce.
- 3 tablespoons DeLallo Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 small onions, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 (28-ounce) can DeLallo Imported Italian Whole Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes
- Handful of fresh basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 4 pounds spinach
- 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup of flour
- Salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil, then add the garlic and onions. Allow them to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes,. Next, stir in the celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for about 3 more minutes, then add the canned tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, lower the flame and simmer until the carrots are tender. Mix the sauce with a hand blender or any instrument that can easily purée vegetables. Finish with chopped basil, and more salt and pepper.
Note: As you can see you have made enough sauce for a battaglione (battalion), as we say in Italy. Any leftovers can be frozen and used for some other pasta or gnocchi ideas.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, stir in spinach and cook for about 2 minutes, until they become bright green. Drain quickly and cool them in an ice water bath to preserve coloring. Once ice melts, spinach can be removed. Drain well. Spread over paper towels to dry. Once dried, finely chop spinach and set aside.
Drain the ricotta in a sieve if liquid is present. In a large bowl, mash ricotta with a fork. Stir in the eggs, 3/4 cup of Parmigiano, grated nutmeg, salt and pepper. Once combined, add spinach to mixture. Stir well.
Boil a large pot of salted water.
With a sieve, or flour sifter, sprinkle the flour on a large cutting board. Form some roundish, walnut-sized or larger, gnocchi and roll them briefly over the flour. Prepare all the malfatti at the same time, keeping the sauce very warm on the stove. Gently place the malfatti in the salted boiling water and as soon as they float to the surface, drain them with a sieve or remove them with a slotted spoon.
Keep them warm in a buttered baking dish placed on top of the tomato sauce pot. If the first malfatti are lukewarm by the time you are done boiling all of them, put the baking dish in a hot oven for just a couple of minutes.
Pour a plentiful amount of the tomato sauce on top of the malfatti, add some Parmigiano and basil to garnish, and serve them on warm individual dishes.
Serves 4 to 6