FOOD: Malfetti: spinach and ricotta balls recipe
I went to Oldroyd in Angel recently and had these. They are incredible, like gnocchi made of cheese. And it turns out they aren't that hard to make. Malfetti literally means 'mal-formed' or 'badly made' in Italian, so they are very forgiving. I took inspiration for this recipe from a few recipes online, and then halfway through I decided to call the restaurant and ask how they did it, I got a few tips from the very kind chef!
YOU WILL NEED:
- 500g spinach leaves
- 250g fresh ricotta
- 50g grated permesan
- 50g seived flour
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- lots of fine ground semolina (as fine as possible)
- a handful of fresh oregano
- 100g of butter
- First, wilt the spinach for two minutes in a big pot of boiling water, then drain, let it cool down, and squeeze all the excess moisture out
- Chop the spinach and mix it with all the other ingredients except for the semolina, oregano and butter. It should be wet but handleable.
- Next, spread out a lot of fine semolina in a tray, form the dough mixture into little balls about 2cm wide and pop them in the semolina. use up all your dough mixture and use more trays if you need to
- Shake the tray to coat the balls in semolina and keep shaking once every five minutes or so for about an hour. The end goal is to have a layer of dry semolina coating each little malfetti ball
- Now to cook them! Boil a lot of water in a big pot, throw a little salt in. While the water boils, melt the butter and fry the oregano leaves in a frying pan (traditionally you use sage, but I have a giant oregano plant that I never get to use so I used that instead), until the butter is almost starting to brown. While that's happening, throw the malfetti in the water to cook. They will sink to the bottom but you'll know they're done when they rise to the surface (about 3-5 mins). Take them out with a slotted spoon, drain, toss them in the frying pan in the butter mixture for a minute and serve straight away.
There you go, delicious malfetti. There's something so satisfying about eating something in a restaurant then making it at home.