January 8, 2013 by Bloke In A Kitchen
This is one of my daughter’s favourite meals, and makes a nice alternative to spaghetti, which, lets face it, was designed for no other reason than to be just about the messiest meal on Earth. The dumplings and basil and tomato sauce are a great combination, and makes a really tasty, filling and satisfying change from pasta.
My daughter Amelie loves to help cracking the eggs, mixing and tasting the basil leaves, parmesan and the ricotta cheese. I’m convinced that getting children involved in the cooking process goes a long way to help appreciate a good variety of new flavours. (The same goes for adults!) I’ve always tried to do this with my daughter, and so far, not once, yet, has she shown any signs of being a fussy eater. I won’t be complacent though!
For the dumplings;
200g plain flour, (preferably Italian ‘OO’ flour). Plus extra for flouring
220g ricotta cheese
3 egg yolks
30g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce;
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
Approx 10 basil leaves
6 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, cut into thick slices
1 sliced chilli (optional)
In a large bowl, mix the flour, ricotta, egg yolks, Parmesan, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper together to form a soft, slightly moist dough. Place on a floured work surface and knead for 3–5 minutes. Leave to rest, whilst you prepare the tomato and basil sauce.
Place the tomatoes and basil in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Gently heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the garlic (and chilli if using). When the garlic begins to change colour, remove the pan from the heat and add the tomato mixture. Replace on the heat and cook gently for about 10 minutes.
Back to the dumplings! With your hands, roll the dough into a long, thin sausage shape and then cut it at right angles into rectangular shapes about 2cm long. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and add the dumplings. Wait until they rise to the surface again, then lower the heat and simmer for a further 2 minutes.
Drain the dumplings with a slotted spoon and add to the tomato sauce. Mix thoroughly, and serve immediately, with a little more grated parmesan cheese and some basil leaves.