Leaf cabbage and chicory malfatti

Date gennaio 25, 2011

Malfatti cavolo di nero

I have fallen in love. I tried to hold it back, telling myself: ok, that’s fine, but would the others care about it? What does it matter? But I knew that sooner or later this love would have found the right key to access the pages of the blog, as it happens with all the important things in my life. Juls ’Kitchen is, in fact, a blog that is a mirror, a  personal diary, a castle in the sky crowded with dreams, hopes and illusions. So, this love was supposed to reach this place, to gain in truth from being put on paper, being transformed into words.

Yes, words. This love began from his own words. Calm, ironic, never predictable or expectable words. Then the fits of freedom, of passion, words running riot with no punctuation, his name repeated a hundred thousand times, just for the thrill of seeing it pronounced, of hearing it written down. Who is he? Or better,who are the interlocutors of this modern epistolary dialogue? The protagonists are Emmi and Leo, the main characters of  the novel “Love Virtually” and the long-awaited sequel to ”Every Seventh Wave“, written by Daniel Glattauer.

Yes, I’m in love with a book, with a story, with love. I’ve fallen in love with words. It happened often, the words have much more hold on me then ultramarine blue eyes, swimmer’s body or advertising sparkling smile (not to mention the effect of words written or – better – spoken in English, but that’s another story…). As Leo says:

Write to me, Emmi. Writing is like kissing, but without lips. Writing is kissing with the mind.

Malfatti cavolo di nero

So, thank you for reading this long preamble, useful to get to todays’ point: the bewitching power of words. Words that have the capacity to make you fall in love, to give hope and motivation, to persuade. I had to appeal to all my seductive power, to three years of Communication Sciences plus two years of post-graduate course in Theory of Communication and Techniques of persuasive language to convince mum to try my malfatti made with leaf cabbage and chicory. When she has an idea, she does not admit exception. I do not like cabbage. Full stop.

But the cabbage is not only that vegetable a bit smelly that loses any appeal when overcooked. Cabbage – from Brussels sprouts to cauliflower – are good for health, are versatile, in season right now and they can be used raw or cooked in many recipes, with an excellent results every time, with excellent results beyond every expectation. Mum, trust me, these malfatti made with leaf cabbage and chicory are made with local produce, are healthy and made with love by your daughter’s caring hands (slow movements of my eyelashes and a halo on my head), but they are also very good, perhaps more those made of spinach! Please give them a try, taste how good is the crispy sage on them!

I don’t know if it was the stream of words, the fruit of five years of studies on persuasion, Quintilian included, a smiling and doe-eyed innocent daughter or the excellent smell, but in the very end mum decided to trust me and had a malfatto… all her resistances fell in a moment!

Malfatti cavolo di nero

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • leaf cabbage, 200 g boiled and squeezed
  • chicory, 100 g boiled and squeezed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • cow ricotta cheese, 250 g
  • Greek yogurt, 50 g
  • egg yolks, 2
  • grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • flour

Whether fresh or frozen, the important thing is that once boiled in salted water you drain the leaves well and squeeze them with your hands. Leave them for a few hours in a colander. Sauté vegetables in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and once cool, chop it with a knife finely. Mix veggies with the fresh ricotta and yogurt. Add at least 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese.

Season with salt and pepper, add grated nutmeg, then add 2 egg yolks to the mixture: mix well to form a soft mass. Use plenty of flour to shape small balls with your hands – large more or less like hazelnuts – so that flour can make a protective film and prevent malfatti from melting into boiling water. Put them on a tray spaced from each other until you’ve finished.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook malfatti in batches. When they float to the surface – very few minutes, sometimes it only takes one – lift them out with a slotted spoon and season them to serve. They are excellent served with melted butter and crispy sage leaves.

Tasting test. Malfatti are a typical Tuscan recipe. They are delicate and light, they remind me of spring. This version brings them back into the winter season, giving in the same time a more Tuscan character for the use of leaf cabbage, one of the most appreciated vegetables of my region, the main ingredient of Tuscan bread soup. They are perfect to hide leaf cabbage for picky people, since they have a mild and reassuring taste. The match with crunchy sage leaves is delicious, it enriches their texture and taste.

Malfatti cavolo di nero

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11 Responses to “Leaf cabbage and chicory malfatti”

  1. Rosa said:

    That is a speciality I love making! Your version is fantastic. Gorgeous pictures.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said:

    I’m sure anyone would be convinced to try leaf cabbage after seeing all these gorgeous pictures – beautiful!

    [Rispondi]

  3. Sally - My Custard Pie said:

    I’m in love with words too, obsessed by them – I enjoy a good preamble. I love nutmeg with cabbage too!

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  4. Diana@Spain In Iowa said:

    Juls, I’m mesmerized by the written word as well. Your posts are always so romantic filled with the most beautiful pictures and recipes. This is no exception, I’ll be trying this soon!

    [Rispondi]

  5. monica cesarato said:

    Ciao, I actually just bought some cabbage to make cabbage soup (cause I am trying to go on a cabbage soup diet for a week), but me thinks I am going to try these out as well!

    [Rispondi]

  6. Asha@FSK said:

    Juls.. you really are my sister from another mother!!!! We so share the love for words and I completely agree that words can arrest one much more powerfully than the perfectly sculpted body!!! HUGS!

    going to go check out Daniel Glattauer’s books ASAP!

    [Rispondi]

  7. Juls @ Juls' Kitchen said:

    @ Rosa: do you have other different seasonings or vegetables you put in? I’m curious!
    @ Sylvie: you’re too kind!
    @ Sally: I love good preambles as well!
    @ Diana: great! and yes, I admit it, I’m very romantic! :P
    @ Asha: isn’t it incredible to find a sister from another mother through recipes, twitter and chats? Tell me if you can find the books! Hugs xx

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  8. Nathalie ( @spacedlaw ) said:

    I made this today for my mother in law who hates cabbage (and did not know cavolo nero – apparently it’s not so common in le Marche) and she loved it. It was labour intensive to squeeze all the water from the greens but well worth the effort. Thanks!

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  9. Giulia said:

    @ Nathalie: this is a real pleasure for me! thank you for letting me know your result!

    [Rispondi]

  10. Trūkažolės - Pasaulio virtuvė - nojus.lt said:

    […] http://en.julskitchen.com/vegetarian/leaf-cabbage-and-chicory-malfatti […]

  11. October. What to pick up at the market? | Juls' Kitchen said:

    […] chard. I would usually opt for spinach, but when grandma comes back from the vegetable garden with a basket of wild chard there’s no better way to eat it than blanched in boiling water and quickly pan fried with a clove of garlic and a few flakes od chili pepper. If you want a more structured dish, make a soup or our malfatti. […]

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