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
- TEN-MINUTE HOMEMADE RICOTTA
- 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.