Ricotta Dumplings with Brothy Tomato Sauce

  in Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

With many thanks to Carolina Gelen for her dumpling recipe

1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup good quality broth, chicken or vegetable
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
Big pinch sugar
1 bay leaf
Optional if you like things spicy: 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons heavy cream
For serving: fresh shaved Parmesan, fresh basil

  1. Dump the ricotta cheese into a cheese cloth-lined sieve over a bowl. Cover the ricotta with the cheese cloth and weigh it down with something heavy, like a 28 oz can of tomatoes. Drain for 30 minutes.
  2. While the ricotta is draining start the sauce. Add the olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Saute the onion until starting to brown around the edges, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 30-60 seconds. Add the wine and stir for a minute or so to let the wine cook out a bit.
  3. Add the tomato sauce to the pan. Pour some of the broth into the tomato sauce can and swish it around to clean out the can. Add to the pan with the remaining broth. Stir in the fish sauce and sugar and drop in the bay leaf. Season with salt. Bring it to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer; continue with the dumplings.
  4. Add the drained cheese to a bowl and discard the ricotta liquid. Mix the egg and salt with the ricotta until combined. Stir in the flour until well mixed.
  5. Dust a work surface generously with flour and dump the sticky dough onto the flour. Flatten and smooth out the dough with your hands to 1/2 inch thick. Using a chef knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into strips and cut the strips into squares. Keep the squares separated by dusting with flour.
  6. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add some salt. Boil the dumplings for 4 minutes. Don’t crowd the pot; do this in batches. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
  7. Turn off the heat on the tomato sauce and stir in the cream. Remove the bay leaf. Taste and add salt and/or pepper if needed.
  8. Serve dumplings with sauce, fresh basil, and shaved Parmesan. Makes large portions for 2 hungry people and decent size portions for 3 people.