Anna Klinger's Malfatti
This is the recipe for the Malfatti at Al Di La -- easily one of my favorite foods in the world -- as posted to the New York Times. Time consuming but worthwhile, especially for company.
1 pound ricotta
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
1. Drain the ricotta in a sieve lined with cheesecloth overnight in the refrigerator. Measure out 11/4 cups.
2. 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.
3. 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.)
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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 saute pan and heat until bubbling, shaking the pan. When it smells nutty, add sage and cook 30 seconds. Season with salt.
7. Drain malfatti and place on plates. Spoon on the butter and sage. Grate Parmesan over each plate.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings as a light main course; 6 to 8 as a first course.