10 to 30 mins
By Matt Tebbutt
For the malfatti
- 500g/1lb 2oz spinach
- 250g/9oz ricotta cheese, drained overnight in muslin or cheese cloth
- 100g/3½oz Parmesan, grated
- 1 free-range egg
- 50g/1¾oz semolina flour
- 50g/1¾oz ‘00’ flour
- pinch grated nutmeg
For the tomato sauce
- 500g/1lb 2oz ripe cherry tomatoes
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 bunch basil leaves, picked, stalks reserved
- drizzle olive oil
For the pesto
- 1 bunch fresh basil leaves (from above), plus extra for serving
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 60g/2¼oz pine nuts
- 50g/1¾oz Pecorino, grated
- 50g/1¾oz Parmesan, grated
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- To serve
- 300g/10½oz piece of fresh tuna
Steam the spinach for 3 minutes, place in a colander and thoroughly drain any excess water. Chop the spinach very roughly.
Mix the flour and ricotta in a large bowl until it resembles lumpy, moist breadcrumbs. With a wooden spoon, stir in the egg and 150g/5½oz of the Parmesan. Add a good pinch of salt, a decent twist of pepper, the nutmeg and drained spinach and stir to combine everything thoroughly. Form into balls.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Drop in the malfatti, bring back to the boil and then simmer for about 3 minutes. The malfatti will float to the surface when they are ready. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a pan and sweat the shallots and garlic. Add the tomatoes and basil stalks and smash up with the basil stalks. Keep cooking until the sauce thickens. Use a stick blender to blitz to a purée.
Put all the pesto ingredients in a pestle and mortar or small food processer and crush to a paste. Keep adding extra virgin olive oil until you have a pesto consistency.
Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Season the tuna sear on both sides, for a minute. Transfer to a board to rest.
To serve, spoon some tomato sauce onto a plate, spoon over some pesto, add some malfatti and break over the tuna. Scatter over the basil leaves and serve.