Swiss Chard and Ricotta Dumplings
Don’t let the Swiss chard fool you; there’s very little that’s healthy about this dish from Portland, Oregon, chef Christopher Israel. But who cares about healthy? What you get if you make this is a bowlful of green-flecked, cheesy dumplings swimming in a pool of butter. It’s also a fun dish to make because so much of it is based on your own sense of touch. Be sure to drain the ricotta cheese overnight before you start the dumplings (if you don’t, the dumplings will require more flour, and they’ll be heavier).
Serves 4 or more
2 cups ricotta cheese, set over a strainer lined with cheesecloth and drained overnight in the refrigerator
1 cup blanched Swiss chard, squeezed dry and chopped
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs, plus 3 egg yolks
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
3 to 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, chard, Parmesan, 2 Tbs. salt, the nutmeg, eggs, and yolks with a large rubber spatula. Mix as thoroughly as possible before adding the flour: once you add the flour you want to mix it as little as possible or the dumplings will be tough and gluey.
Add the flour 1/4 cup at a time and work it in gently with the rubber spatula. Study the dough as you go: is it very sticky? You don’t want it super dry but you want to be able to roll it later to form the dumplings. Stop adding flour when the dough reaches a rollable texture.
Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature (during which time it will continue to stiffen).
When you’re ready to roll the dumplings, flour a board and your hands. Remove the dough to the board and sprinkle some flour on it. Roll the dough into a long rod, approximately 1/2 inch thick. Cut the rod into 1-inch-long dumplings.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season lightly with salt. Drop the dumplings in and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until they float.
Melt the butter in a medium-size pan and lift the dumplings from the boiling water into the pan to finish, tossing them gently. Serve immediately.
photo: Johnny Miller
From Book Secrets of the Best Chefs
, pp. 198
October 25, 2012