Last night I made one of my favorite dinner-in-a-flash recipes: Ricotta dumplings. This is a lightning-quick recipe, easy to mix up, and easy to make for a crowd, too. I tossed these pillowy, chewy little dumpling squares with a bit of butter, soft goat cheese, and herbs fresh from the garden. They were ready in 15 minutes!
This recipe is based on my earlier recipe for ricotta spaetzle. I love these so much; they are ready almost instantly. The only problem with spaetzle is that it is a very thin dough — a batter, really — and you need to stand over the simmering water and drop each dumpling into the water individually, pushing the batter off the tip of a spoon.
What if I added a little more flour, I wondered. What would that do? Could I pat these out, cut them, and make them even that much quicker?
The answer is yes, you can. I added more flour to this recipe, and a bit of extra salt, and the result is a small, chewy dumpling — not quite as light as the original ricotta spaetzle, but even faster and easier. I tossed them with goat cheese and herbs, and served them alongside hurriedly-seared smoked sausage.
These dumplings are the perfect foil for cheese, herbs, and other light, fresh spring ingredients. I'd love to make these again soon and toss them with buttered peas and a flurry of mint.
Ricotta Dumplings with Chèvre & Herbs
serves 2 generously as a main dish, or 4 as a side dish
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of water, as needed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Handful fresh herbs (rosemary, flat-leaf parsley, sorrel, mint, thyme, or combination thereof)
2 ounces fresh chèvre
Place a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan of water over high heat. Salt generously and bring to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, whisk together the ricotta and eggs. Add the flour, salt, and a sprinkle of fresh black pepper. Mix together quickly and lightly with a spoon. If the dough is too thick and floury, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.
Turn the dough out onto a floured countertop and quickly pat it out. (Don't add too much flour; these will be just slightly sticky.) Pat the dough out until it is about 1/2-inch thick, and cut into 1-inch squares.
Drop these little squares into the boiling water and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, or until they float to the top and are fully cooked inside. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon.
Pour the water out of the pan and place back over medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan. While the butter is melting, chop the herbs roughly. When the butter has melted, add the herbs and cook for just a few seconds, stirring them until fragrant. Turn off the heat and add the cooked dumplings back to the pan. Toss with the herbed butter. Add the goat cheese in small dollops and toss.
Related: Recipe: Ricotta Spaetzle
(Images: Faith Durand)