Tuscan malfatti or gnudi are dumplings made from spinach and ricotta and lightly poached in boiling water. They are deceptively easy to make and pair so well with any sauce. Here i have made a simple roast squash puree, and topped with a crispy sage brown butter and pine nuts. Add a shaving of black truffle if you're feeling fancy. This dish is perfect for a slow cooking sunday and makes an impressive dinner party dish.
½ butternut squash, peeled and roughly chopped
1 brown onion, peeled and thick sliced
1 small bulb garlic, sliced in half through the equator
150ml double cream
50g butter, cubed
25g parmesan, grated
Pinch of nutmeg
Small bunch of sage leaves
50g pine nuts, toasted
Black truffle, finely shaved (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 190C fan. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Arrange the squash, onion and garlic halves on the tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through and caramelised.
3. Squeeze out the garlic cloves and transfer everything to a blender with the cream and butter. Blend to a smooth puree. Transfer to a small saucepan ready to reheat.
4. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil.
5. Steam or gently wilt the spinach in a pan and roughly chop. Add to a large bowl along with the malfatti ingredients and seasoning, and mix until smooth and combined.
6. Using an ice cream scoop or two spoons dipped in water, spoon heaped tbsp of malfatti into the water. Working with a few at a time. Cook for around 2 minutes, until slightly firm to touch but still a little creamy inside. Remove with a slotted spoon. Place on a lightly oiled tray.
7. Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the butter and when melted and starting to foam, add the sage leaves. Cook until the sage leaves are crispy and the butter has browned – it will turn a caramel colour and give off a nutty smell but be careful as It can quickly burn. Pour into a small bowl.
8. Warm up the puree and serve with the malfatti. Spoon over the butter and add the pine nuts and shaved truffle if using.