Malafatti with Spicy Spaghetti Sauce

This poached spinach, basil and ricotta gnocchi are an old world delight. You may like bitter greens and in that case substitute the spinach with swiss chard and a bit of sage.

1 cup spinach – cooked and drained well (squeeze all excess water )

1       1/2 cups ricotta cheese (drained well in a strainer for at least 2 hours.)

1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs

2 eggs-beaten

1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon Black Pepper

2 teaspoons fresh sweet basil-chopped

1 clove garlic-minced

pinch nutmeg

3 tablespoons flour on a flat plate-to roll malafatti in.

1 ½-2 quarts salted water to poach Malafatti in- use a wide pan with about 2-3” water .

Drain Ricotta in a strainer for at least 2 hours. ( a good time to start the Spaghetti Sauce… see below)

Drain spinach as dry as possible first with strainer then with paper towel.

In a bowl mix spinach, ricotta, bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, salt, pepper, basil, and garlic , nutmeg.

Refrigerate 1 hour.

When mixture is cold, scoop out rounded tablespoons and with hands, roll or form into fat fingers or dumplings.

Lightly roll in flour. Place on baking sheet in a single layer and refrigerate.

Just before serving poach fingers in boiling water.

Malafatti will sink at first then rise to the top when cooked, about 3 minutes. Do not over cook they will come apart in the water.

Remove from water with slotted spoon onto a warm platter ladled with spaghetti sauce.

Makes 12-14 fingers.

Spaghetti Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic -chopped

4 slices bacon- chopped

1 package italian sausage (4-6 links, hot or sweet. Hot for me !!)

1 teaspoon red chile flakes or 1 fresh thai chile chopped(optional)

1 tablespoon anchovy paste

1 small can tomato paste

2 large cans crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons parsley (fresh or dried)

3 tablespoons basil (fresh or dried)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

fresh grated parmesan or romano cheese-to serve

In a large sauce pot, heat olive oil.  Brown sausages, bacon and garlic.

Add Chile if desired. Stir well.

When sausages are browned, remove from pot.  Set aside.

In the same pot, add tomato paste, and anchovy paste, stir into the drippings on the bottom of the pot stirring constantly, until pastes begins to fry.

Add tomatos and water, stir well scrapping all the brown bits off the bottom of the pot.

Add salt, pepper, basil, parsley.

Stir and replace sausages.

Cook until sauce comes to a boil.  When sauce starts to boil turn down flame to very low .

Cover and simmer for at least 3 hours, the longer this sauce cooks the better it tastes.

Serve over Pasta, Ravioli, or Malafatti.

Sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Adding meatballs to this sauce makes it an unforgettable meal.

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