Fresh, Handmade Pasta in Madison, WI

Malfatti: No Bad Way to Make Pasta.

Malfatti: No Bad Way to Make Pasta.

Hey there, Kelly here. Chef/creator of Big Mouth Pasta. Before I jump into the malfatti recipe, I’d like to tell you a bit about Big Mouth Pasta. I started BMP about a year ago. I was (still am) obsessed with fresh pasta and the very real lack of it where I live. Not actually where I lived – because in my house fresh pasta rains down from the ceiling. But I knew this not to be true for the majority.

So we set out to make fresh pasta available to the masses, in the form of pop-up dinners, classes, catering and more. What we realized was that creating fresh pasta for the masses was going to make our hands drop off. It just wasn’t possible to create handmade pasta in such large quantities and maintain the quality that I got at home.

So, we’ve decided to slow it down. Make a few dinners at home again with friends and family. Make Sunday our pasta day.

And we want you to do the same. So, we’re sharing our recipes with you. Every Sunday.

What do you think?

So let’s jump into malfatti. Over the months, we taught dozens of hopeful pasta makers how to create their own fresh noodles. And one of the things I always repeated was that you can’t really mess up fresh pasta. Well, if you really want to you can but I know you don’t want that.

That’s why malfatti is the perfect recipe to start with. It’s also a fun recipe for kids because it’s SO easy. Except for the part of standing over a giant pot of boiling water. That’s not very kid-friendly.

If you’ve had malfatti before you probably know that it means “badly-done”. Which means it’s a totally low-pressure, no expectation dish. Perfect for Sunday.

Most malfatti recipes require you to drain the ricotta overnight. But I don’t have time for that. So I just adjusted the egg ratio and used only yolks to achieve optimum binding without adding more liquid.


Malfatti with Brown Butter and Sage

serves 4

the dumpling dough

1 lb. ricotta (no need to drain overnight! just pour off any liquid before using)
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 5-oz packages baby spinach
14 cup flour, plus more
12 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg yolks
Freshly ground black pepper

the sauce

8 tbsp butter
a bunch of sage leaves, sliced in ribbons
Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  1.  Place spinach in a large pot with an inch of water, cover and cook until wilted.
  2. Drain spinach and let cool. Or if you’re in a hurry just pass to the next step and curse as you burn yourself on hot spinach.
  3. Squeeze spinach to get out excess water. Transfer to a cutting board and chop up finely.
  4. In a large bowl mix chopped spinach with ricotta, 1 tsp. salt, flour, nutmeg, and egg yolks. Season with pepper and mix until combined.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Here’s where you can test one dumpling – using two spoons, scoop out about a tablespoon of mixture and use the spoons to shape a kind of rough ball. Drop it into the gently boiling water. If dumpling falls apart, stir 14 cup more flour into the mixture.

cook the dumplings

  1. Using the same two spoon technique, add dumplings to gently boiling water; cook until dumplings float, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer dumplings to a baking sheet.
  3. Meanwhile, heat butter in a 10″ skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add sage and cook until leaves are crisp, 1 minute.
  4. If you like a caramelized coating on your dumpling, add them to the pan with the butter and sage and cook about 1-2 minutes per side. It’s really nice to use a non-stick pan for this!
  5. Divide dumplings between 4 serving plates, drizzle with sage butter, and garnish with Parmesan.

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