Monday, June 11, 2012

Malfatti di Ricotta e Bietola {For We Olive}

While the dads and minis did boy-things at the J-Squared Ranch on Mothers' Day weekend, Pia and I headed into Paso Robles for a much-needed break from all things testosterone. And, as we usually do, when we get some girl time, we ate. Tasted, nibbled, imbibed, and tasted some more. This time was no different.

We started off at We Olive where we tasted olive oils that ran the gamut from fruity and light to grassy and robust. We also tasted oils that were infused with everything from blood orange and meyer lemon to piquant peppers.

And we both walked out with multiple bottles of some delicious oils and vinegars, wholly inspired to go home and create delicous dishes that highlighted our purchases.

Here's a dish I make that pairs well with We Olive's Extra Virgin Arbequina Olive Oil that has medium fruit and light pungency.
Malfatti di Ricotta e Bietola. "Badly formed" dumplings with ricotta and chard. Also known as a quick and easy summer dinner. These are so easy and pillowy soft. Traditionally malfatti are made with spinach, but I use whatever greens I have in the fridge and chard seems to be a family-favorite.

  • 2 C whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 C feta cheese
  • 3 T Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 C chard, thinly sliced
  • 2 stems of green garlic, thinly sliced
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • freshly ground pink Himalaya salt and flower pepper
  • corn flour for dusting
  • 1/2 C tomato puree
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • We Olive's Extra Virgin Arbequina Olive Oil*
*Feel free to substitue any fruity olive oil that you have 

Saute the chard and green garlic together until wilted. Let cool. Spread the tomato puree in the bottom of a baking dish, add the lemon juice and a splash of olive oil. Blend till mixed and covering the bottom of the dish.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place all of the other ingredients - except the corn flour - in a large mixing bowl. Blend with a fork until everything is well incorporated. Place the corn flour in a separate bowl. With moistened hands, form tablespoon-sized portions into balls. Roll them in the corn flour and place them in the baking dish. Leave some room between the malfatti.

When the dish is full, bake for 25-30 minutes until the dumplings are slightly browned. Serve hot, sprinkled with a little bit more parsley and lemon zest and drizzled with olive oil. Pronto al tavolo!

At Pia's urging, I am submitting this to We Olive's recipe contest. Wish me luck!


  1. I love recipes with chard! What a great trip and this recipe looks delicious.

  2. Tried this last night for dinner - so rich, yum! Think my cheeses needed to drain a bit and my lemon was far too juicy, but otherwise came out great. Served it with big pan of ratatouille. Love that you get all the "fresh Italian" taste from this dish without the pasta carbs. Malfatti is definitely getting added to my recipes for eating/entertaining on the boat, as the method is simple, the ingredients adaptable, and ricotta is easy for me to make. Thanks Cam! Oh yeah, and I voted - good luck!


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