Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings ~ Marinara Sauce with Sliced Olives

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings ~ Marinara Sauce with Sliced Olives
Ingredients: 
  • ½ pound fresh ricotta, 1 cup
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach, cleaned
  • ¼ cup white bread, such as baugette (crusts removed)
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh garlic, peeled and minced
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup parmesan reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated fine
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, cleaned and stemmed
  • ½ cup parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
  • 6 tablespoons flour, plus more for dusting

 

Method: 

Place the fresh ricotta (found in better italian markets and gourmet stores) in a large bowl for the dumpling dough. If using commercial ricotta, place in a fine strainer over a bowl and refrigerate overnight to catch the extra liquid from the cheese. Steam the spinach in a few tablespoons of water, in a large covered pot until just wilted. Drain, run cool water over. Squeeze very dry, set aside. 
Pulse bread in a mini chopper until fine crumbs. Place them in a small stick proof skillet, add1/4 t. minced garlic and 1/2 t. olive oil. Mix well, toast over low heat until dried but not colored, about 2 minutes. Do not let brown. You are really drying the crumbs while flavoring. When the bread crumbs have cooled, add them to the ricotta. Also add 1/2 cup coarsely grated parmesan reggiano cheese, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Mix all ingredients.
Now, in a blender add: the cooked, dried spinach, 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk, parsley and finely grated parmesan reggiano cheese. Blend until finely mixed, will be a beautiful green color. Add this to the large bowl with 6 T. flour, mix very well. The dumpling dough is ready, cover tightly and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour or up to one day ahead. 
Bring water to a boil in a large pot, add some salt. Meanwhile put a piece of waxed paper on a jelly roll pan, dust with some flour. Using a teaspoon, drop rounded mounds - keeping the size uniform. After a few mounds are on the pan, roll gently with your fingers, making flat ovals (see photo). Use only enough flour so they do not stick to your hands or the pan. Light dumplings only have a necessary amount of flour. Will make about 40 dumplings, When all formed, cook them in the water in 2 batches. The dumplings will cook, then float to the top. Do not stir too early, wait until they float to gently stir. Cook the dumplings for 3 - 5 minutes from the time they float (depending on size). Take one out and test that it is firm all around. Drain in a colander. Cook second batch. Pat dry quickly. Leave to cool.
Make Marinara with Sliced Olives. When ready to serve, heat a 12 inch stick proof skillet with 1 T. butter or olive oil. When very hot add half the dumplings. Cook over medium - high heat until golden, turn over. Cook on each side a few minutes. Remove, and serve over a warm pool of Marinara sauce, top with some coarsely grated parmesan reggiano. Sprinkle some chopped flat leaf parsley and serve.

Notes: 

Dumpling dough can be made 1 day in advance, and refrigerated.
Cooked dumpling ovals can be made a day in advance, and placed in a tight container in the refrigerator. Blot dry and bring to room temperature before pan frying.

These dumplings can be served simply tossed with butter and a grating of parmesan cheese.

Servings: 6 Main Course