Ricotta malfatti with green pea pesto


These are not your usual well-formed potato gnocchi.

Malfatti are a type of gnocchi, usually made with ricotta and spinach and served with a butter sauce, most often flavored with sage. Malfatti in English would translate to ”poorly made” and in French to ”mal faits”, explaining the imperfect shape of the dumplings and implying that the chef has to be forgiven for having been sloppy in the process. They are supposed to look that way.

For the gnocchi:

500 ricotta, drained for a few hours or overnight
2 eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 cup flour
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper


1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the flour. Add the flour about 1/4 cup at a time and stir well until it starts to form a ball. You may need a bit more flour. The dough will be sticky.
2. Sprinkle a good amount of flour on a sheet of parchment and place it near your bowl.
3. Working with two teaspoons, take a small amount of dough (about half a teaspoon) and transfer it to the parchment until all the gnocchi are formed.
4. Cook them in salted boiling water until they come to the surface. As soon as they float, they are cooked.
5. If using immediately, mix them with the pesto at once along with a bit of water to loosen the sauce. If you plan to use them later, rinse them under cold water, dry them on a clean dish towel and keep them in the refrigerator until ready to use. Reheat them in boiling water for a minute before mixing with the sauce.
6. Serve in warm bowls with extra cheese at the table.

For the green pea pesto:

2 cups frozen peas, thawed (if using fresh peas, cook them first)
1 handful fresh parsley leaves
1 handful fresh mint leaves
1 handful pine nuts
1 handful grated parmesan or other firm cheese
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil, about 1/2 a cup

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor except the oil. With the blade running, add the oil gradually until you have the desired consistency. Correct seasonings. You will not need all the pesto for the gnocchi. Keep the rest in the refrigerator and serve on fish or chicken.

Serves 3 or 4

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