Malfatti di Spinaci e Ricotta Keeps the Vampires Away

Well, not really, but fresh garlic on your front porch does!

This past Friday I went to Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem with two foodie girlfriends, Mimi from Israeli Kitchen and Sarah from Foodbridge. We had a great time exploring the market finding all sorts of goodies to try. I came home with fontina, mahleb, pear cider from Normandy, a loaf of currant and walnut bread, artichokes, and 6 kilos of braided fresh garlic. I thought Mr. BT was going to kill me for buying so much garlic, but his Hungarian side was pleased as a peasant in the countryside. I thought my car was going to smell like a Romanian kitchen, but it wasn’t too bad, or maybe I just like the smell of garlic. We hung the beautiful braid on our shady front porch to dry.

I am always looking for quick dishes to make during the week and I had some ricotta and spinach I bought to use during Passover, but never got around to using. So, I used them to make a very quick, light and delicious Italian dish called Malfatti. It is a Tuscan dish made with ingredients that are used to fill ravioli. In fact it was probably concocted when someone had made too much ravioli filling. There are various versions of this dish, including one served with a brown butter and sage sauce, but I served mine with a tomato and fresh garlic sauce. They are like little soft pillows in your mouth, but without having to pick the feathers from between your teeth.

Malfatti di Spinaci e Ricotta
(Spinach and Ricotta Malfatti)
  • 500 g 1lb ricotta
  • 2 cups chopped frozen spinach thawed and moisture squeezed out
  • 100 g 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup semolina plus more for shaping
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large whole egg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Put a teaspoon of semolina into a narrow wineglass. Drop in a ball and swirl until it forms an oval. Repeat. (You may need to add more semolina) You can freeze them at this point.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the malfatti and cook until they float, about 8 minutes. (If frozen, 10 minutes.) Drain malfatti and place on plates or in a flat bowl. Serve with tomato sauce or a brown butter and sage sauce, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padana
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Written by Baroness Tapuzina

Michelle Nordell (aka Baroness Tapuzina) was a foodie from the womb growing up in the House of Weird Vegetables, so named by a family friend because all of the unusual and exotic food cooked and eaten there. She loves to change recipes using herbs from her garden and spices from the spice shops she enjoys visiting.

6 thoughts on “Malfatti di Spinaci e Ricotta Keeps the Vampires Away

  1. Beautiful Garlic Pic on the BT porch – no vampires 4U 😉 very picturesque

    I love garlic in all dishes, plain spread, in tea! “alcoshum” for the blood and sugar, and wherever else. Fortunately the spouse does too. The distinctive olfactory side effects though can be disconcerting.

    Great spinach dish.

    What are you preparing for Yom ha’Atzmaut “mangal” bbq day


  2. Hi Dov,

    Along as both of you are eating garlic, then there is no problem. This is what my grandmother always said. I had a relative who used to eat raw garlic for their blood sugar and high-blood pressure.

    I have haven’t decided what I am making yet, but I do have some lamb in my freezer……;-)

  3. I had a great time and we surely have to plan another trip. I really like this recipe, all the goodness of ravioli but
    none of the fuss. My car still smells of garlic btw after almost one week!

    1. Baroness, can you please tell me where in the market you found mahleb? I had some from earlier trips to Greece and Cyprus, but it’s all gone rancid.

      Do you use it in challah?

      1. Hi Mark,

        I found it at tiny, but very nice spice shop in Mahane Yehuda which is in the same street, called HaEtrog, as the Etrog juice guy. It is in the middle of the HaEtrog on the right-hand side across from a new and hip felafel restaurant and a couple of doors up from a synagogue. You can’t walk in to the shop, you can only ask for spices that the owner has on floor-to-ceiling shelves. He is very knowledgeable about spices and tells you how much you should use, etc.

        Here is a link to a great map of Mahane Yehuda:

        I have never used it before, but I plan to try it in challah and in some other baked goods.

      2. Found it, thanks. Even tried a glass of etrog juice, but too bitter for my taste.

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