When I started making this recipe I had no idea what I would use the broth for. I figured it would probably be so delicious I would just eat it on its own with a few pieces of additional vegetables added. I also had a bee in my bonnet about making dumplings and then while making them it occurred to me that this broth would be the perfect liquid to poach them in and and serve them with, and it was. I’m currently in Italy in the Emilia-Romagna area and where tortellini in brodo (in broth) is one of their signature dishes so it all kind of felt ‘meant to be’.
The vegan umami broth recipe is from Bon Appetit and I saw the recipe video one Sunday morning while lying in bed. I literally couldn’t stop thinking about it since. I gathered all the ingredients and went through the various processes – which are more complicated than making a straightforward stock, but my oh my was this worth it. I couldn’t have imagined that something that was vegan could taste so meaty and I will be putting this on repeat forever.
The desire to make dumplings came about as a result of feeling inadequate that this was something I had never tackled before. I really do not know why. I often eat them out so it was definitley time to make them at home. I did cheat here and use ready-made wonton pastry cases that are readily available at my local Asian supermarket, but next time I will be tackling the pastry myself. I also used shop-bought ricotta even though it’s so easy to make yourself, but really I can’t get enough spinach and ricotta in my life. The flavour component was ready-made pesto – again a cheat ingredient that I unashamedly always have on standby in my fridge and freezer. Normally its basil pesto that I use, but the Pesto Princess Greek pesto, which has olives, lemon, and oregano, worked wonderfully here.
These dumplings would work perfectly with pasta dough too and made into ravioli or tossed through a tomato-based sauce. I’m still obsessing over this easy tomato sauce by Marcella Hazan, which is literally life changing terms of taste and pure convenience.
*I’m not entirely sure how many dumplings I made in the end, but I had wrappers left over and I think there were around 40 to start. So I estimate around 20 – 25.
To make the vegan umami broth check out this recipe and video on Bon Appetit. I followed the recipe to a T but my broth came out quite a bit darker than theirs. It will also reduce further if you poach the dumplings in it. I loved how it intensified the flavour.
Spinach & ricotta dumpling filling:
- 200gm ricotta
- 200gm baby spinach leaves
- 3 – 4 Tbsp pesto
- a pinch of dried chilli flakes
- salt & pepper to season
- Wonton dumpling wrappers (if frozen allow to thaw in the fridge)
- Freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino to serve
Steam the spinach for about 3 minutes then cool and squeeze out all the liquid and finely chop. Add this to a bowl with the other ingredients and mix well and adjust seasoning to taste.
Place a walnut size spoonful on the wonton pastry, wet the rim and fold over ensuring that you squeeze out any air. You will find the perfect amount of filling that allows enough space to seal the pastry pieces.
Bring a small pot of broth to a gentle simmer (you don’t want a rolling boil here) and poach them in batches for around 8 minutes until cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with a few large spoonfuls of the broth. Sprinkle grated Parmesan on top to serve too.
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