Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Passover Ravioli – How to Make Italian Malfatti using Matzo Meal by Cleo Coyle #Passover



Malfatti, which translates to "badly made," are fun, little Italian dumplings. They're also known as "gnudi" because they look and taste like "naked" ravioli (ravioli filling without the pasta pillow)...




A Note from Cleo
Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.


There are many popular recipes for malfatti out there, some of which use flour. My Italian family prefers bread crumbs, which is why I was easily able to turn my malfatti recipe into a Passover dish. To my happy surprise, I found the matzo meal worked even better than bread crumbs. Perhaps it’s the unleavened nature of the crumbled matzo that does the trick. It gives the malfatti a great structure, helping the dumplings stay together while cooking. 

Malfatti are also a great deal of fun to form, and I'll show you how to do this using a simple wine glass. I even made some videos to help illustrate the step.


Finally, as with standard ravioli, the sauce provides a big part of the flavor so try to make it fresh. 
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Our favorite quick, delicious homemade sauce is the "1,2, 3 Magic Meatless Sauce" that Marc and I shared in the recipe section of our 16th Coffeehouse Mystery Dead Cold Brew, now a national bestseller in its paperback reprint edition. 

May you eat (and read) with joy! 

~ Cleo














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To download this recipe in a 
PDF document that you can 
print, save, or share, click here.


Cleo Coyle's
Passover Ravioli "Matzo Malfatti"

Makes about 16 pieces – 4 servings of 4 each

Ingredients:

For the Malfatti:

2 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasonings (or your own mix of herbs,
   see my note at the end of this recipe*)
1 cup whole milk ricotta (pour off any visible liquid)
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan or aged Asiago)
1/2 cup matzo meal + about 1/2 cup more for finishing

(optional) A few cloves of garlic and more salt for the boiling water


Variation: For Spinach Malfatti,
see my note at the end of this recipe.

Step 1 – Make the dough: In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs well. Add oil, salt, white pepper, and Italian seasoning mix. Add the ricotta and whisk vigorously until the mixture is completely smooth (no lumps!). Stir in the grated hard cheese. (If creating the spinach or kale version, add the pureed spinach onion and garlic mixture now.) Finally, stir in the 1/2 cup of matzo meal.



Step 2 – Chill the dough: Cover the bowl with plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. Do not skip this step. Chilling the dough makes it easier to work with and gives the matzo meal time to absorb the liquid in the dough.

Step 3 – Form the naked ravioli: Watch my little videos (below) to see exactly how to do this....

Video Fun
📷
Click here to see
my complete
YouTube Video


How to Form Malfatti
with a Wine Glass


Drop 1 heaping tablespoon of dough into
a bowl of matzo meal and lightly coat. 




Drop the dough ball
into a large wine glass. 


Hold the glass by the stem and spin it in your hand as if you were swirling wine. First move it vigorously in a circular motion and then in a side-to-side motion.

First in a Circular Motion...

Then in a Side-to-Side Motion...

The dough ball will knock against the sides of the glass, forming a smooth elongated oval, like a little football. Gently slide the finished dumpling onto a plate. Repeat with a new lump of dough. 


🍷
FREEZE (or not): If you have time, and for the very best results, freeze the dumplings before cooking. Otherwise, move to the next step and cook without freezing. 



Step 4 – To cook: Fill a deep pan with water, generously sprinkle with kosher salt and add a few cloves of garlic. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Gently add the malfatti to the water. Do not crowd, be sure the dumplings have room to expand while cooking. Boil for about 12 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove. Place them on plates covered with paper towels to remove excess water.



Step 5 – Cool: Allow the hot malfatti to cool to room temperature. As they cool, the texture changes, becoming more dense. To serve, move gently to plates, cover with well-heated marinara sauce, sprinkle with grated Pecorino, Parmesan, or aged Asiago cheese and…eat with joy!





*NOTE ON HERBS: In the recipe, I suggest using a standard mix of dried Italian seasonings to save time, but you can certainly create your own combination of dried or fresh herbs. I suggest oregano, rosemary, parsley, and basil, perhaps some garlic and/or onion powder. The final mix is to your own taste.

**NOTE ON SAUCE: If you’re not a fan of red sauce to finish the malfatti, try a cream sauce, or simply sauté slices of garlic in butter and olive oil. Throw in some chopped basil and thyme and pour the buttery herb sauce over the malfatti.

🌿 

SPINACH MALFATTI

This is a delicious and highly nutritious variation. To make it, simply dice up 1 large onion (3 cups roughly chopped) and 4 cloves of garlic. Warm a bit of olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onions and garlic. 

After the onions have caramelized into a light brown color, add no more than 2 cups of chopped frozen spinach (or kale). Stir and cook the spinach for a good ten minutes (see more on this below). 



You're watching for steam to rise from the spinach, which means the liquid is evaporating. That's your goal here--to dry out the spinach. 

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree. This spinach-onion-garlic mix should measure about 1 cup packed. If you have more than that, do not use the extra. Use only 1 cup packed. 

Pop the mixture into the fridge or freezer to cool it quickly to room temperature and add where indicated in Step 1 of the recipe. Then proceed as directed and...



🍴

To download this recipe in a 
PDF document that you can 
print, save, or share, click here.
Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
of 
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 


Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

Learn more about us here.
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