Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings with Tomato Salsa

We all have goals in life.  One of mine is to cook homemade gnocchi, those petite potato filled pillows of gorgeousness.  I know it’s not as heroic as solving world hunger or negotiating world peace but it’s a solution to my families hunger, and that’s a start.  However, cooking homemade pasta for the first time is a little intimidating, even to me ‘Miss I love to cook’.  But not being one to walk away from a cooking challenge, I have scoured the pages of my favourite cookbooks looking for my equivalent to a ‘warm up session’, a practice before the big gnocchi game.  And I found it!  ‘Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings with Tomato Salsa’, thanks to the latest Donna Hay magazine!  I feel as though these dumplings are the ‘basecamp’ to my gnocchi ‘Mt Everest peak’.  They are my stretch and warm up session.  I am not quite ready to tackle the real deal just yet, but by successfully whipping up these delicious babies I have certainly boosted my confidence.  The dumplings are quite similar to gnocchi, they start as a dough, are rolled into balls, dropped into boiling salted water and fried in butter to finish, the only real difference is instead of potato I used ricotta.  This exercise has revealed something quite dramatic though...these dumplings may even be more delicious than my beloved gnocchi.  They really are that good.  I mean when they’re cooked they are incredibly crispy and golden on the outside with the most lovely, silky, fluffy ricotta interior.  And the tomato salsa is pure perfection!  It marries perfectly with these dumplings as it adds a light, zesty, fresh finish and when served with a glass of crisp sauvignon blanc, it makes for a perfect Brisbane spring evening supper.   
Enjoy K X
Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings with Tomato Salsa (Donna Hay, Issue 59)
Dumplings –
200g baby spinach leaves, wilted, dried and chopped
1 cup (200g) fresh ricotta
2/3 cup (50g) finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
1/3 cup (50g) plain flour, plus extra, for dusting
2 eggs
1/3 cup chopped chives
1 clove garlic, crushed
40 g butter
Tomato Salsa -
300g mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
12 white anchovy fillets, chopped
1 cup mint leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
To make the tomato salsa, place the tomatoes, anchovy, mint, garlic, olive, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to combine.  Set aside.
Place the spinach, ricotta, parmesan, flour, eggs, chives, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until a sticky dough forms.  Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls and roll in the extra flour.  Cook, in batches, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until firm and floating to the surface.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Melt the butter in a non stick frypan over high heat.  Add the dumplings and cook for 2 minutes each side or until golden.  Serve with the tomato salsa and extra parmesan.  Serves 4.

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