Malfatti translates as "poorly made" and these large dumplings are cut irregularly. They are a specialty from Brescia in Lombardy and are the region’s version of ricotta gnocchi.
Watch the Fine Cooking Culinary School Video Series, where the authors show you, step-by-step, how to make this dish, as well as eight other handmade pastas.
In a medium-size bowl mix together the ricotta, spinach, bread crumbs, nutmeg, grated cheese, and the eggs until completely combined.
Generously flour a work surface. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a log 1 inch thick. With a knife, cut each log into irregular 1-inch dumplings, then toss in flour to cover. Continue making dumplings until all the dough has been used.
Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the dumplings and cook until they begin to float to the top, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water. Drain the dumplings well.
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and cook until the butter begins to lightly brown. Whisk in the reserved pasta water until emulsified, then add the dumplings to the butter sauce. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with freshly grated cheese.
Photo: Melissa Pellegrino & Matthew Scialabba