For the dumplings
- 500g ricotta
- 225g courgette, coarsely grated
- 250g spinach leaves
- 65g grated parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 125g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- 1½ tsp flaky, or ½ tsp fine sea salt
- Black pepper
- 50g butter, to serve
For the sauce
- 8 large ripe tomatoes (or 2 tins drained plum tomatoes)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp red-wine vinegar
- 1 big handful basil leaves
- Drain the ricotta for at least 30 minutes to remove as much excess water as possible.
- Put the courgettes in a large sieve or colander suspended over a bowl.
- Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and blanch the spinach for one to two minutes, until it has collapsed.
- Pour the spinach water over the grated courgettes to wilt it, then leave both vegetables to drain in the sieve.
- When the vegetables are cool enough to touch, squeeze out the water, dry on kitchen paper, chop finely and put in a bowl.
- Add the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, flour, half the salt and plenty of black pepper, and mix well with a fork or wooden spoon and adjust the seasoning, to taste.
- Dust your hands and a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper with flour.
- Mould the dough into golfballs – keep dusting your hands in more flour or the dough will stick to you.
- Lay the balls out on the tray, then refrigerate while you make the sauce.
- Score the top of each tomato with an X and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Leave for 30 seconds, then drain. Peel the skin and roughly chop the flesh.
- Gently fry the garlic in the oil in a small pan over a medium-low heat until it begins to turn pale gold, then add the chopped tomatoes and vinegar, to stop the garlic burning.
- Season, simmer for 10-15 minutes until thick, then tear in the basil. Add a few pinches of brown sugar if the tomatoes taste flat.
- Once the sauce is ready, bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. When the water is simmering, cook a few dumplings at a time until they float to the surface, then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
- Once the dumplings are all cooked, heat a wide frying pan over a medium heat and melt the butter. Fry the dumplings in the butter until slightly browned.
- Spoon the warm tomato sauce on to plates or shallow bowls, then top with the dumplings. Grate over a little extra parmesan and serve.