Best Italian mistake of its time, perfect with Pinot!

With a portfolio of 14 Pinot Noirs to choose from and a garden abundant with vegetables in every season, the potential for Lynmar’s Estate chef to be creative is endless! Having worked at so many fine dining restaurants, and creating four and five-course meals for special guests, sometimes I find myself looking for a simple pairing. Here is one delicious, easy to make and hearty course that perfectly complements our wine. This month I chose Malfatti, to go with our always popular and widely distributed 2013 Russian River Pinot Noir, or any other light bodied Pinot in your cellar.

Winter greetings to you all – I would love to hear what you think of the pairing.

Malfatti with Leek, Brown Butter & Lemon
Recipe by Lynmar Estate Chef David Frakes
Makes: 5 dozen (Malfatti means: badly made)


½  lb. Leeks (cleaned & chopped into 1” pieces)
3 T Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lg Yellow, or White Onion (about 1-1 ¼ C, finely diced)
4 Sm Garlic Cloves (finely minced)
½ C Flat-Leaf Parsley
2 t Kosher Salt
¼ t Freshly Ground Black Pepper
4 Lg Eggs (well beaten)
¾ C Parmesan Cheese (plus ¾ C for topping Malfatti)
1 ¼ C Bread Crumbs (or Panko)
½ lb. Unsalted Butter (2 sticks, cut into 16 pieces)
2 ½ T Lemon Juice
Zest of 1 Lemon (finely grated)


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Plunge leeks into the water and cook for 3 minutes, pushing leeks down as needed.
  • Drain the leeks through a colander, then spread them out on a clean towel. Cool to room temperature.
  • Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic, stirring to coat with the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6-7 minutes.
  • Add the leeks, parsley, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8th teaspoon of the pepper and stir together.
  • Cook 3-4 minutes, then cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and cool to room temperature.
  • Place the leek mixture in the bowl of a food processor. Add another ½ t of the salt and the remaining 1/8th teaspoon pepper. Process until the mixture is very finely chopped. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk the eggs into the leek mixture to loosen it. Add the Parmesan and bread crumbs and work them in evenly, using a wooden spoon or your hands. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 2 days.


  • Lightly flour a cutting board and have a bowl of flour nearby to use for shaping the Malfatti.
  • With floured hands, pinch off a rounded teaspoon (¼ oz) of the malfatti mixture.
  • Gently roll it between the palms of your hands to form a small torpedo shape, about 1 ½ inches long, with slightly tapered ends. The mixture will be moist, so keep your hands lightly floured to prevent sticking.
  • Line up the Malfatti on a floured baking sheet, close to but not touching one another.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (At this point, the Mlfatti can be frozen on a tray, then put into resealable plastic freezer bags for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator on a baking sheet before cooking).


  • To Plate: Arrange a few Malfatti on a plate in a small pile, then drizzle with browned butter and more Parmesan Cheese. Serve Immediately!


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