Gluten-Free Pea Shoot and Ricotta Malfatti

Malfatti means “badly formed” in Italian. But it also stands for beloved, rustic-looking dumplings made by swirling pieces of potato-based dough in a wineglass to round them. They can be made in any size and are perfect when plunked into soups or bathed in sauces. Here these gluten free dumplings nest in a bed of wilted pea shoots (available in many supermarkets) with a finishing drizzle of olive oil, a dusting of Parmesan, and an optional sprinkle of dried calendula petals.

Gluten-Free Pea Shoot and Ricotta Malfatti

Servings 6


  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fine cornmeal
  • 8 ounces fresh pea shoots
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) fresh ricotta cheese, drained
  • 2-3/4 ounces (about 2 cups) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 5 tablespoons gluten-free flour, plus more for dusting
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon dried calendula petals, for garnish (optional)


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle with the cornmeal, and set aside.
  2. Finely chop half of the pea shoots and place them in a large mixing bowl with the ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest, egg, and flour. Mix to combine and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Generously dust the inside of a wineglass with flour, drop a tablespoonful of the ricotta mixture into the glass, and vigorously swirl it to form a ball. Place the dumpling onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining ricotta mixture, dusting each time.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°F and warm an oven-safe plate or platter. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, drop the malfatti into the water. Once they float to the top, cook them for another 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer them to the preheated plate.
  5. Place a pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the remaining peas shoots, remove from the heat, toss to warm the shoots, then transfer to a serving platter. Top the pea shoots with the malfatti. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, a few grinds of pepper, and some calendula petals and serve immediately.

Photography Renee Anjanette

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