Lemon ricotta dumplings
I know I’ve mentioned this in probably way too many posts in the last couple months, but…it’s now the last day of February (happy Leap Year!) and we’ve still had only a few days of real winter. I’ve worn my down coat about once in the last couple weeks, and tomorrow is March! These tiny, fluffy lemon ricotta dumplings are inspired by Glass Candy‘s song “Warm in the Winter” — the chorus of which is “We’re warm in the winter/ Sunny on the inside,” which pretty much sums up both the weather here and my outlook on life as of late. I love the cheery, echoing “Wooooo!”s throughout the song, and the line about being “crazy like a monkey” makes me think of the hysterical giggle-fits I’ve found myself in recently, mostly thanks to someone who likes making goofy faces at me all the time. The dumplings are fitting for the song because the lemon and basil are like little bursts of sunshine and freshness; they’re best served warm with butter; and they’re small enough to pop in your mouth like candy.
Makes about 100 tiny dumplings (serves 4). Adapted from Design Sponge.
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon fresh mint, finely chopped
Melted butter, to serve
Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
• In a large bowl, mix ricotta and egg. Add 1/2 cup flour and mix it with a spoon to form a ball.
• With your hands, mix in lemon zest, basil, mint and more flour, a couple tablespoons at a time. If your ricotta is not very moist, you won’t need to use a whole cup (confession: I used a generic store-bought kind and it wasn’t nearly as moist as fresh ricotta, so I probably used a total of 3/4 cup of flour). The dough should be sticky but not wet.
• On a lightly-floured surface, break the dough into two or three pieces and roll it out into strands that are about 1/2-inch wide. Slice each strand into pieces that are about 1/2-inch to 1-inch long.
• Transfer the dumplings to a large pot of boiling, salted water and boil until all the dumplings float to the surface. If you’re only doing one serving at a time, like I did, it should take about five minutes, but cooking time will be longer if you make them all at once. Serve with melted butter, garnish with lemon zest, basil and Parmesan cheese. To freeze the rest: Lay out on a baking sheet, plate, etc., and freeze — then transfer them to a container. Spacecase over here forgot to do that and the rest are now in a big, frozen ball in a plastic container. Whoops!