Now let’s move on to something that’s a little more exotic but still easy to make: malfatti pasta.
In Italian, “malfatti” means malformed or irregularly shaped.
This might sound like a bad thing, but believe me, it’s the key to this dish!
This recipe comes from the personal collection of my Italian friend in Argentina, where I lived for many years. Believe it or not, Argentina is almost as much of a melting pot as the US, with everything from Amish settlements to a burgeoning Italian community, and everyone in between.
These have a wonderful texture and they are hearty, because the pasta pieces are large and almost dumpling-like. They are also great to make at home because they are easy to form, you don’t need a pasta machine, and you do not have to make a lot of them to use up all of the dough.
The spinach provides a boost of added flavor, vitamins, and color.
Bonus Tip: Always remember to put a little bit of sugar in your tomato sauces. It makes the sauce sweeter, and cuts the acidity of the tomatoes.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step One – Blanch the Spinach
Bring a pot of water and a dash of salt to boil, and quickly blanch the spinach.
Remove the spinach (a strainer or colander works well for this), drain well, and chop up into small pieces.
Step Two – Mix It Up
Lightly beat the eggs and add them to a bowl along with the nutmeg, pepper, salt, chopped spinach, ricotta, and grated cheese.
Thoroughly mix together all of the ingredients.
Step Three – Make It Sticky
Slowly incorporate the flour, making sure that you stir in each tablespoon in one at a time until the dough firms up.
Step Four – Form the Pasta
Coat your hands have a light dusting of flour, and form the dough into rough balls. These don’t have to be perfect – in fact, irregular shapes are prefered.
This can also be done with a spoon. Scoop out the dough like you would if you were making cookies, using an ice cream scoop if you like for some consistency, and shape them in the palm of your hand.
Step Five – Boil the Dough
Add water and salt to a medium-sized stock pot or a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Using a large spoon, place the pasta into the pot, being careful not to splash yourself or burn your hands. When the malfatti pop to the surface, they are done.
Step Six – Remove the Cooked Malfatti
Remove from heat and allow the pasta to sit in the pot of water& for a few more minutes. Remove the malfatti from the pot with a slotted spoon or a strainer.
Step Seven – The Presentation
Place the finished pasta in a dish and add your favorite sauces and toppings.
This is one of the simplest ways to make an Italian noodle, but they can be dressed up any way that you want. Some of my favorite toppings include:
Have your ever made malfatti? If so, what’s your favorite topping? Tell us in the comments below!
Photos by Kendall Vanderslice unless otherwise noted, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu, Mike Quinn, and Kendall Vanderslice.
About Lori Jo Hendrix
Lori was born in southern California and currently resides in Mexico. She is an actress and model who also writes in the fields of nutrition, wellness, and cuisine. Her passions include working as a volunteer with various groups in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured animals.