R29's executive food editor, Elettra Wiedemann traveled to Italy for a behind-the-scenes look at some of her favorite ingredients. Along the way she picked up some new cooking skills to apply back at home. Read about her adventure and get more authentic Italian recipes, here.
4-5 big handfuls fresh spinach
2 cups fresh ricotta
Salt and pepper
1 cup halved or quartered cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper
1 small chili pepper
1. For the topini: Heat a few drops of olive oil in a pan and add the previously washed spinach leaves. Cover and cook for 10 mins, or until the spinach becomes soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. In the meantime, boil a liter of water in a pot, then add salt. Drain any excess water from the ricotta and place in a bowl; sprinkle in a grating of nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the eggs and a few teaspoons of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
3. Blend the spinach. Remove any excess moisture and add to bowl with ricotta mix. Bit by bit, add flour and stir the mixture until it is quite firm, but still malleable.
4. Make the sauce: In a pan, brown the garlic in olive oil. Add cherry tomatoes, a pinch of salt, pepper, chili, and a few basil leaves; lightly fry for 5-10 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened just a touch.
5. Back to the topini: Take a half-tablespoon of the mixture and, with another tablespoon, make a slightly oval ball. Drop the ball directly in the boiling water. Repeat until the pot is too crowded with topini. The topini are done when they float to the surface. Remove and drain in a colander, adding fresh topini to the boiling water and repeating the process.
6. Place on a serving dish and dress with the tomato sauce.