Friday, June 1, 2012

Malfatti Friday!

Years ago, I lived in Napa Valley.  Yes it is every bit as beautiful as people tell you it is...although, for me, it's a bit congested these days.  In the 70's we use to go to Lawler's Liquors across from the Butter Cream Bakery on Jefferson Street and in the back, you could purchase Malfatti with meat sauce and garlic bread...It was amazing!  They are still there, the Malfatti are still incredible...but alas, it is just a bit too far for me to run for a dozen or so.  

But never fear, we have the recipe!  Oh yes, and it is every bit as delicious as I remember all those years.  I will say that they are a labor of love, it's not something you are going to whip together in a moment and slap on your table.  But they are worth the effort.  Here we go... you will need the following ingredients:

I double the recipe, so you can cut this in half...but you're gonna wanna make a double batch!
2 cups cooked chopped spinach, cooled and strained (squeeze all the water out using a towel)
3 cups ricotta cheese
4 eggs beaten
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic
(I put the onion and garlic in the food processor and run till it's very fine, almost liquid)
2 cups dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp basil finely chopped
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
Some unbleached all purpose flour for rolling, about a cup or so.


Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl, just get your hands right in it and mix it up good.  Cover it with Saran Wrap and put it in the fridge to chill about 1 hour.  ( you can let it go longer, it won't hurt to make it up the day before...just fine)
It should look like this when you take it out.

Liberally sprinkle flour on your board and take a teaspoon of the mix, rolling it into a ball (about the size of a walnut), set it in the flour and roll it into a finger shape (like those clay snakes you use to make in grade school!)

Now, I can see your face right now...don't worry about all the flour, your malfatti will absorb and incorporate what it wants and the rest will just come off in the water when they are cooked.    It's a fresh pasta, you don't want it to stick to the little malfatti next to it, so I suggest you do as I do and put them on a piece of parchment paper lined jelly roll pan, or if you don't have that, liberally flour a tea towel and place them on that.  You will want to transfer these to your fridge to chill for a couple hours, or freeze them for another day.  

Malfatti in Italian translates to "Bad Made".  They are rustic and delicious!  There are a number of ways you can form them, some people just roll the tiny balls, some people roll a long log and then cut into pieces.  I like this method because it's what I grew up with.  It's a familiar taste in a familiar package.  If I were going to describe how they taste, I would say, somewhat like an inside out cheese and spinach ravioli only so much better!  I am cooking these for company tonight, so I will update this blog a bit later with some photos of the cooking process and serving.  We will be having the malfatti with a meat and mushroom sauce, a tossed green garden salad with a strong wine vinegar dressing and for famous applebetty with caramel sauce!

As you cook the malfatti, they will rise to the top, takes about 3-5 minutes.  When they are floating, lift them gently with a slotted spoon to your platter and cover with your sauce...enjoy!

Our dear friends Bret and Brenda Allen came over to help us enjoy our malfatti Friday!

We put a serious dent in my world famous Applebetty with home made caramel sauce!

I put the caramel in the fridge after dinner was over and just got it out to get a spoonful to just enjoy...I LOVE caramel.  There's not a lot left, we hit it pretty hard between the four of us!  Hey, when something is that good, you just have to indulge yourself.

Tomorrow, We Quilt!

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