Date Night: Ricotta Dumplings with Kale Pesto

Ricotta Dumplings with Kale Pesto | windykitchen

A few weekends ago, I had Food Network on as I was doing dishes and such, and all of a sudden I heard the Pioneer Woman say something crazy — she was teaching people to make what she dubbed a sixteen minute meal. Sixteen minutes! It’s definitely possible to make a meal in 16 minutes, but the recipe she was touting called for browning hamburger, chopping vegetables, and baking things in the oven…I’m sorry, but you’re not going to do all that in 16 minutes. 30 minutes? Maybe. But 16 minutes is barely enough time for an oven to preheat!

I know we’re always trying to find the quickest possible recipes, but when I decided to make these dumplings, I was actually on the lookout for a time-consuming recipe. Dumb huh? Actually, I was looking for a recipe that would be good to make together, as a little frugal, stay-at-home date night (like the one you might be planning for Valentine’s Day this weekend!). So I wanted something delicious and quasi-fancy…but something that also took some time and teamwork to put together.

These dumplings were perfect! Delicious – check. Quasi-fancy – check. And the rolling-out-the-dumplings-and-shaping-them extravaganza was a lot of fun. They also led to an interesting discovery — I pronounce ricotta “ruh-CAH-tah,” while my husband pronounces it “ruh-COAT-ah.”

I’m right, right?

Ricotta Dumplings with Kale Pesto | windykitchen

RICOTTA DUMPLINGS WITH KALE PESTO (recipe from A Couple Cooks)

Ingredients for the dumplings:
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
16 oz ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (plus more for serving)
1/2 to 3/4 cup flour
nutmeg
red pepper flakes

Ingredients for the kale pesto:
2 cups kale leaves
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt to taste
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil

1. To make pesto, wash kale leaves and tear into small pieces (removing stems). Add kale, garlic, and walnuts to food processor and process until chopped finely. Add cheese, salt, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar, processing until well-combined. Slowly pour in olive oil, processing until smooth. Set aside.
2. To make dumplings: whisk 1 egg and 1 egg yolk in large bowl. Add ricotta, salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add 1/2 cup flour; stir just until combined and mixture forms a ball, adding more flour if dough is too wet.
3. Dust rimmed baking sheet generously with flour. If you’re cooking together, have one person use 2 large spoons to shape heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into the shapes of footballs, placing them on the baking sheet. Have the other person roll the dumplings with more flour so they’re coated. You should have about 30 dumplings.
4. Cook dumplings in large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and tender, about 5-6 minutes (the dumpling will float to the surface quicky, but keep cooking until they are fully cooked).
5. Drain dumplings, then return them to the pan. Toss with kale pesto, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, and a little kosher salt. Gently toss to coat, and top with Parmesan cheese.

Great (and frugal!) date night!

Ricotta Dumplings with Kale Pesto | windykitchen

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