The Book of Greens from Portland Chef Jenn Louis comes out in April, but I’m not going to be able to wait that long to talk about the kale malfatti with brown butter and pumpkin.By then, we’ll be at the very tail end of squash season, and you don’t want to miss out on making this one. If this recipe was the teaser, I can’t wait to cook from the rest of the book.
Malfatti are simply little ricotta dumplings or gnocchi roughly shaped into disks. I’d never made them before, though I’ve eaten my fair share of ricotta gnocchi. In a way, they’re like the ricotta and spinach mixture in an Americanized lasagna. Instead of holding up some noodles, these little dumplings get to stand out on their own, matched with sweet butternut squash cooked in brown butter.
The word malfatti means “badly made,” so the lumps and the bumps are par for the course. No one is expecting perfection. And with a “dough” as moist as this one, you’re not gonna get it. Both fresh and grocery store ricotta produced a wet dough, it’s just the nature of the beast. You shouldn’t expect to roll these between your hands into balls. Even swirling them in a wine glass was a stretch, they’re much too delicate for that. You’ll want to have plenty of semolina on hand, and a well-floured baking sheet. Don’t skimp.
Like I said, the point here isn’t a perfectly shaped disk, so don’t be put off. These dumplings are easy to make and they’re delicious. OJ gobbled these up after I shot them, marveling, “Wow, these are really good.”