Gnocchi, those tender little Italian dumplings, are the cousin to these much easier-to-make malfatti ricotta dumplings. In Italian, malfatti translates to "badly made" because of their rough shape, however, these delicious dumplings are anything but bad - and much easier to make than gnocchi. They're so easy, in fact, that you can easily whip these babies up on a busy weeknight. If you can drop dumplings into a simmering broth, you can make ricotta dumplings.
This recipe is based on one I found in this month's issue of EatingWell. I changed it up a bit to make it gluten-free and made the formation of the dumplings a bit easier, I think. EatingWell's recipe called for forming the dumplings into quenelles (football-shaped dumplings using two spoons), but I found the batter to be a bit too loose for this (I could have added a bit more gluten-free flour to firm them up a bit, and you absolutely could do this, but I wanted to keep them as light in carbs as possible). Instead, I simply dropped the dumplings directly into the simmering water a la chicken and dumplings style.
The boiled dumplings are then tossed in a pan with a bit of olive oil until they are nicely browned. This adds a nice crispness to the light and fluffy center. Toss your dumplings in a bit of cooked cream with bacon, peas, and pea shoots, if you can find them, then generously garnish with a good Parmesan cheese. A bit of freshly cracked black pepper goes nicely as well.
Gluten-Free Basil Ricotta Dumplings with Creamy Peas and Pea Shoots
Based on a recipe in EatingWell, April 2019
1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1), plus more for dusting
1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup bacon or pancetta
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup light cream
Handful of pea shoots (optional)
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a slow boil.
Stir together the ricotta, egg yolks, flour, basil, salt and pepper.
Using two tablespoons, carefully drop a large spoonful of batter into the boiling water (scoop with one spoon and scrape off batter with the other). Cook half the dumplings until they begin to float, about 2-3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet. Add half the dumplings and cook, flipping once, until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Remove to a clean plate and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and dumplings.
Add the bacon and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the peas, cream and pea shoots and cook until the cream thickens, about 2 minutes.
Add the dumplings to the pan and gently stir to incorporate.
Transfer to a large serving platter and garnish with Parmesan cheese.