“You can't make dumplings from breadcrumbs!” says your culinarian friend, the one with the elaborate coffee routine and dubious taste in music. Friends are great, but they don't know everything. We know that these dumplings, made with pesto, spinach, breadcrumbs, and cheese, are rich mouthfuls of delight. And while tasting four-star fancy, these dumplings aren't too difficult to make, with a little patience and a lot of love. Love you'll still have for your wrong-headed friend, as you serve him the best dumplings he's ever had.
Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, 7-10 minutes.
Reserve ½ cup pasta water.
Drain pasta in a colander. Set aside.
While pasta cooks, mince garlic.
Coarsely chop spinach.
Make the Dumpling Mixture
Line a plate with paper towels.
Place a medium oven-safe non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper to pan. Stir constantly until beginning to wilt, 1-2 minutes.
Transfer to towel-lined plate. Blot spinach dry with paper towel.
Wipe pan clean and reserve.
In a mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, ricotta, cooked spinach, liquid egg, and Parmesan.
Roast the Dumplings
Form dumpling mixture into ten ping-pong ball-sized dumplings.
Place dumplings on prepared baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tsp. olive oil. Roast until dumplings are firm and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes.
While dumplings roast, start sauce.
Start the Sauce
Return pan used to wilt spinach to medium heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and garlic to hot pan and cook until aromatic, 30-60 seconds.
Add marinara and reserved pasta water to pan and bring to a simmer.
Stir occasionally until sauce is slightly thickened, 4-6 minutes.
Remove from burner.
Finish the Dish
Top dumplings with Asiago.
Bake until cheese is melted, 6-8 minutes.
Plate dish as pictured on front of card, garnishing dumplings with basil pesto. Bon appétit!