Amy Traverso’s Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings (Malfatti)

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 12 2021


Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings

Photo Credit : Studio Dylan

In the season five Weekends with Yankee episode “Homegrown,” Amy joins Douglass Williams, chef-owner of Mida in Boston, on a shopping trip for locally stone-ground organic flour and the perfect bottle of wine for dinner. Back in the kitchen, Amy makes Malfatti, a favorite family dish inspired by their meal.

Malfatti are delicious little spinach and cheese dumplings similar to gnocchi. Be sure to cook most of the moisture out of the spinach so the balls hold together. Test by cooking a couple of dumplings. If the mixture is loose, add another tablespoonful of flour.

Watch Amy Traverso make her family’s Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings:


6 servings


1/4 cup (1/2 stick, or 4 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup minced onion
2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3/4 cup ricotta
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup to 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating hands


Melt butter in a frying pan or skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture is evaporated. Add ricotta, remove from heat, and stir until well mixed, about 3 minutes. Pour into bowl. Add eggs, cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir well. Mix in 3/4 cup flour, cover, and chill in refrigerator at least 1 hour, or overnight. Check the dough: If it feels very wet, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour.

With generously floured hands, roll mixture into balls the size of cherry tomatoes. The rolled balls should have the texture of soft bread dough. Place on a rimmed, parchment-lined baking sheet. (At this point, dumplings can be frozen, then transferred to a zip-top bag.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium. Cook the dumplings until they rise to the top, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and allow them to rest a few minutes before serving. Serve with Bolognese sauce or with butter and Parmesan cheese. For meatless meal, serve with marinara sauce.