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Malfatti are rich, tender dumplings made from ricotta, spinach and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve them with browned butter or in a savory tomato sugo.
Course Dumplings
Cuisine Italian
Level Beginner
Diet Low Sugar, Pescatarian, Vegetarian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 60 malfatti


for malfatti

  • 620 grams spinach
  • 320 grams ricotta cheese (~1 1/3 cup)
  • 60 grams Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 65 grams all-purpose flour (~1/2 cup)
  • 50 grams semolina flour (~ 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

to serve

  • 5 tablespoons cultured unsalted butter
  • 40 sage leaves
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Meyer lemon zest


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and boil the spinach until tender (but still vibrant green), about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. Squeeze as much water as you can out of the spinach using your hands. I ended up with 240 grams of cooked spinach after squeezing and the ball of spinach fit comfortably in my hand. Finely chop the spinach with a knife, or stick it in a food processor to mince it for you.
  2. Add the spinach to a bowl along with the ricotta, parmigiano reggiano, all-purpose flour, semolina, salt, and nutmeg and mix until thoroughly combined. Depending on how moist your ricotta was, you may need to add some extra semolina. The dough will be very soft, but should be firm enough to hold a spatula inserted into the center vertically.
  3. Sprinkle an even layer of semolina onto a work surface and drop a manageable piece of dough onto the surface. Roll the dough into a rope about 1/2-inch thick and then use a pastry knife to cut the rope into 2-inch long pieces.
  4. The ends will likely get squished so roll each piece between your hands to form little cylinders, using semolina to keep them from sticking to your hands. Place the finished malfatti on a non-stick sheet pan. You can store these covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  5. When you're ready to serve the malfatti, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  6. Place the butter and sage leaves in a large frying pan and then place over medium-low heat. If you don't have a pan that's large enough to hold the malfatti comfortably in a single layer, you may need to use 2 pans.
  7. Add the malfatti to the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface (about 2-3 minutes). Drain and then toss with the browned butter adding salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Plate the malfatti, and garnish with a generous sprinkle of grated parmigiano reggiano and some meyer lemon zest.