October 29, 2012

Ricotta Dumplings in Chicken Broth

Ricotta Dumplings in Chicken Broth

The  Middle Name Halloween party was a success although I made the mistake of applying my fake nails way too early which made every task that much harder, from getting the Devils out of the oven to putting on my wig and my Spanx.  Nevertheless, the party got started and the devils were quickly gobbled up (mostly by me) .  My boyfriend’s irresistibly cheesy kugel was attacked as if it fell out of a pinata.  I was hunched over the kugel with a fork by the end of the night.  All of our guests did a great job dressing up as their middle names, and some even stayed in character throughout the party.   The night ended with my boyfriend’s cousin and me soaking off our fake nails in a trash pail full of soapy water while the rest of the gang watched Jaws.  I'm surprised I didn't explode my Spanx after all the party food I ate.

My costume, "Marie" the wannabe Socialite/Housewife of New Jersey (photo by Ian Addison Hall)

Today I’m working from home while Hurricane Sandy whips at the windows.  For lunch I made a stuck-in-the-house pot of black beans with whatever was in the fridge and cabinets; carrots, butter, garlic, fresh herbs, dried herbs, chipotles in adobo sauce, pickled jalapeno juice and a tomato.  I served myself some beans, topped them with shredded smoked cheddar and spooned it all up with tortilla chips that were leftover from the party.  So good!  Big pots of hot food are essential for cold, rainy days, especially if you’re fighting off a cold that that guy on the subway gave you when he clumsily sneezed at the side of your face.  No, that hasn't happened yet, but it's inevitable.

Ricotta Dumplings in Chicken Broth

Here’s a soup that I’ve been saving in my recipe folder for months; perfect little balls of ricotta floating in hot chicken broth and garnished with fresh parsley.  This soup is fit for both a casual Sunday movie night and for those elegant dinner parties you throw all the time.  The difference is the direction in which you spoon the soup; toward you for casual, away from you for elegant.  Ok, here it is…

Adapted from recipe for “Polpette di Ricotta in Brodo” from My Calabria by Rosetta Costantino


Makes 4 servings

1/2 +1/8 cups whole milk ricotta
1 egg
1/4 cup fine breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
5 turns freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 quart salty chicken stock (or salty vegetable stock)

1.  Put ricotta in a sieve over a bowl for 20-30 minutes to drain all the water out (if you can find freshly made ricotta that is low in moisture, there will be no need to drain it).

2.  Combine ricotta, eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley and pepper, mixing well with a fork.  Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes which will firm it up, making it easier to form dumplings.

3.  Make a bed of flour in a plate.  Take a spoonful of the ricotta mixture and form a ball (1 inch diameter) between your palms, roll it in the flour to lightly coat and place on a tray.  Continue forming balls with the remaining ricotta mixture.  You can make these dumplings up to 4 hours ahead and keep them refrigerated, uncovered until ready to cook.

Ricotta Dumplings in Chicken Broth

4.  Bring the chicken stock to a boil, then reduce the heat so that it barely simmers.  Add the dumplings to the broth, making sure the broth stays at a simmer (a rolling boil will break up the dumplings).  Cook the dumplings until they float to surface, about 2-3 minutes.  Serve dumplings and broth immediately, garnished with extra parsley.

Ricotta Dumplings in Chicken Broth

All soup photos by Alan Foreman


  1. Wow, this is something new to me. Looks great! And I bet those dumplings would be great too in a homemade seafood broth!

  2. Hi Marcella! Oh, yes, I didn't think about seafood broth. These would definitely be great in all broths. Pretty easy to make, too.