The Uruguayan Chef Ignacio Mattos of the restaurant Estela in New York City, transforms the humble ricotta cheese into some of the most exciting foods being cooked today. This recipe for Ricotta Dumpling, stimulates all five senses. Six, if you include your sense of accomplishment.
Here is the recipe, adapted from his cookbook, Estela.
Ignacio Matto’s Ricotta Dumplings
For the Dumplings:
1 ½ cups (350g) packed fresh ricotta
¾ cup (75g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
Scant 1 cup (230ml) mushroom stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 button mushrooms, chopped
½ cup (50g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
Drain the Ricotta: Drain the ricotta to make sure it’s firm and not too wet. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Put the ricotta in the strainer, wrap it in the cheesecloth, and weight it down with a few cans or something else that’s heavy enough to put pressure on it. Cover and refrigerate for 1 day. The result should be dense, and a soft clump of ricotta should stick to your finger when you try to take a swipe.
Make the Dumplings: When you’re ready to make the dumplings, combine the Parmesan, flour, and salt in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork; set aside. Measure out 1 cup densely packed ricotta and put it in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the ricotta on medium-low speed for 2 minutes, or until thick and creamy, almost like the consistency of peanut butter. Add the egg and beat until it’s fully incorporated; scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the dry ingredients and mix well for about 5 minutes. The batter will be thick and smooth.
To Form the Dumplings: Sift a generous amount of flour over a baking sheet. Find a large spoon and set out a small bowl of water. Scoop up a spoonful of batter, level it off against the edge of the batter bowl and then use the edge of a wet finger to slide it onto the baking sheet. The resulting dumpling should be somewhere between a blob and a half moon, with a little seam from where your finger was. This will be your test dumpling. Bring a small saucepan of unsalted water to a boil. Dust the test dumpling with a little more flour, drop it into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Scoop it out and cut into it, to make sure that it holds together, and it’s cooked through. If it’s not quite cooked, increase the timing to 3 ½ minutes when you cook all the dumplings. If they threaten to fall apart, add a little more flour to the batter (no more than 1 teaspoon) and shape and cook another test dumpling.
Continue forming the dumplings with the remaining batter, leaving space between the dumplings. You should have about 20 dumplings. Sift a bit more flour over the dumplings and freeze them on the baking sheet for at least 4 hours, until frozen solid. You can make these up to 3 weeks ahead of time. transfer them to a freezer bag once they’re frozen solid and return them to freezer.
To cook the dumpling, bring a medium pot of unsalted water to a boil. Drop in the dumplings, bring the water back to a boil and cook the dumplings for 3 ½ minutes or until cooked through.
Assemble: As the dumplings cook, heat the mushroom stock and butter in a pan, whisking to combine. Add the chopped mushrooms and simmer until just tender. When the dumplings are ready, drain them. Add them to the mushroom sauce and gently simmer everything for 30 seconds. Divide the dumplings and sauce between wide bowls, top with the Parmesan cheese and the sliced mushrooms and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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