Ricotta Malfatti, Sweet Italian Sausage, Spinach, Peppers & Parmesan

Pair with Ridge Lytton Springs

This dish is sure to please. Sexy ricotta dumplings, with flavors that everybody loves. Sure to be a family favorite, and great for almost any occasion. Buon appetito!


For Malfatti:

  • 3 lbs fresh ricotta - choose a local ricotta from your area for a real treat
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Italian Parsely, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced chives
  • 1/2 cup mined shallots
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • kosher salt and white pepper to taste
  • 3 to 4 cups all purpose flour

For Ragu:

  • 2 pounds bulk sweet Italian sausage, rolled into 1 inch balls
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb-trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 serrano chilies, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 habanero chile, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 cups zinfandel
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese (3 ounces)

Crusty bread, for serving


1. For the Malfatti – Sweat garlic and shallots in ¾ cup canola/olive oil blend. Put first seven ingredients into the bowl of a mixer and mix together with the paddle attachment until just incorporated. Add half of the flour with the mixer at medium speed. Pulse to incorporate the flour, turn of the mixer and add remaining flour. Pulse once again until the flour is incorporated. Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough and lay on lightly floured surface. Once you have all of the dough scooped, roll the dough in between your palms into balls. Bring to boil 1 gallon of water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water. Gently place the balls into the water and boil gently for 10 minutes or until balls float. Once they float, cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Drain, toss with a little olive oil, and keep warm.

2. For the Ragu – Place a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and wait 10 minutes. Add sausage to pan and let sit for 2 min, shake pan and repeat until browned on all sides. Remove sausage and set aside. Drain oil from pan.

3. Wipe out skillet and place over medium high heat, and add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the peppers, onion, fennel and chilies and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt. Add the sausages and wine to the skillet and simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, fold in spinach and sprinkle half of the cheese over the sausage and peppers. Toss the malfatti with the ragu. Serve with sourdough bread and pass remaining cheese at the table.