Swiss Chard & Homemade Ricotta Balls with Sage Butter.



Photo – Christine Elise McCarthy – of my own malfatti effort.


From Brooklyn’s own AL DI LA – I present

Anna Klinger’s Malfatti



  • 1 pound ricotta (Recipe for homemade is below.  USE IT – it is WAY easy & WAY better!)
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 bunches Swiss chard (about 4 pounds)
  • 8 ounces butter
  • 1/4 cup flour, plus more for shaping
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large whole egg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 fresh sage leaves
  • Parmesan cheese for serving


Drain the ricotta in a sieve lined with cheesecloth overnight in the refrigerator. Measure out 1 1/4 cups.
Bring a large pot of water, heavily seasoned with salt, to a boil. Trim the chard, removing all stems and large ridges. Add half to the boiling water and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Fish out and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Repeat.
Squeeze out chard with your hands. On a dish towel, spread the chard in a circle the size of a pie. Roll up the towel and have someone help you twist the ends to squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Pulse in a food processor until fine. Squeeze out in a dish towel once more, until very dry. (You will have about 1 cup.)
Melt half the butter. Mix chard and ricotta. Add melted butter, 1/4 cup flour, 1 heaping teaspoon salt and nutmeg and mix again. Drop in egg yolks and egg, season with pepper and stir again. Sprinkle a cutting board with flour. Shape into 1 ounce balls, about 1 tablespoon each, dropping them on the cutting board. You should have 25 to 30.
Put a teaspoon of flour into a narrow wineglass. Drop in a ball and swirl until it forms an oval. Repeat. (You may need to change the glass.) You may freeze them at this point.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the malfatti and cook until they float, about 8 minutes. (If frozen, 10 minutes.) Put remaining butter in a small sauté pan and heat until bubbling, shaking the pan. When it smells nutty, add sage and cook 30 seconds. Season with salt.
Drain malfatti and place on plates. Spoon on the butter and sage. Grate Parmesan over each plate.
4 to 6 servings as a light main course; 6 to 8 as a first course
You will need CHEESECLOTH
9 cups whole milk
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 TBS white vinegar
Warm milk & buttermilk in heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge.  DO NOT BOIL.  Remove from heat and add the salt & vinegar.  Let stand 5 minutes til curd forms.  Strain curds through a cheesecloth-lined strainer.   I then gather the curds into a ball in the cheesecloth & gentle squeeze out the whey (watery remnants) progressively until I cannot squeeze out anything more & the ricotta is very dry.  Sometimes I tie it over my sink faucet & let it drip after I squeeze it & repeat every few minutes.  The drier your ricotta is here – the better your malfatti will be. Store in the fridge in a covered container until you are ready to use it.

2 thoughts on “Swiss Chard & Homemade Ricotta Balls with Sage Butter.

  1. This ricotta cheese is sinfully delish! Many thanks for sharing. Your site is spectacular! I love to get the email update when a new dish is posted. Your stories, photos and descriptions are great too! 🙂 Okay, enough about you – on to the cheese! 😉 I wasn’t sure this was going to work while I was stirring the pot full of warm milk but as it curdled up and I saw the cheese forming, I was like, “Holy shit! I’m a magician!” LOL! It is so flavorful and creamy AND yummy! Thanks again for the magical experience – I will never buy ricotta again!


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