Fresh Ricotta

My husband and I have a favorite local restaurant where we like to go and have a special lunch together. Even though it is quite indulgent, we cannot go without ordering the fresh ricotta cheese appetizer. It is seasoned with lemon and served with warm bread. Irresistible.

I knew that making homemade ricotta was an easy task but had never tried to make it. I’m a little bit worried that now that I’ve finally done it because I’ll be making it all of the time! 🙂 I brought it to serve as an appetizer at a party to spread on slices of sourdough baguette… but- wow- it would also be amazing over pasta with a little drizzle of olive oil.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by J.J. Goode. I added lemon zest (like at my restaurant!) and coarse salt, to taste. I found the consistency was perfect after straining for just twenty minutes. It was beyond creamy, rich, and fabulous.

Yield: about 1 cup

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon, or more, to taste
  1. Bring milk, cream, and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice; stir gently until mixture starts to curdle. Let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Pour mixture into a fine-mesh sieve lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth set over a medium bowl.
  4. Chill until cheese is spreadable, at least 20 minutes and up to 12 hours (the longer it strains, the thicker it will be). (I recommend the consistency after about 20 minutes.)
  5. Cover and chill cheese up to 3 days. (If it lasts that long!)

Note/Update: This ricotta was absolutely delicious in Spinach & Ricotta Pappardelle. Wonderful!!

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Mexican Street Corn Crostini

I was also able to celebrate my birthday on my special Charleston trip. 🙂 Although I enjoyed a lot of wonderful Southern food while I was there, my friends and I also went to Sean Brock’s Minero’s Restaurant for a Mexican birthday lunch. It was SO good.

Along with our various tacos, we had bowls of Mexican street corn which were absolutely delicious. I do plan on re-creating that dish, but for now these grilled corn crostini were another terrific variation. I made these as a Fourth of July appetizer. Unlike other crostini that have to be prepared at the last-minute, these are perfect to bring to a party or potluck because the topping can be placed on the ciabatta in advance.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. I toasted the ciabatta until it was nicely browned and increased the garlic on the toasted bread. Great!

Yield: Makes 12 crostini

  • 2 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 slices of ciabatta bread (I used most of a 1 lb. loaf, cut into 12 1/2-inch thick slices)
  • 2 garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup crema mexicana or sour cream
  • 3 T crumbled feta
  • lime wedge
  • cilantro leaves
  • chili powder
  1. Rub corn with vegetable oil. Season corn with salt and freshly ground black pepper; grill until slightly charred and tender.
  2. Slice corn off the cob in wide strips. (I grilled 3 ears just to ensure that I would have enough wide strips.)
  3. Grill or toast the bread slices until uniformly browned. While still warm, rub the top of each slice with garlic.
  4. Mix crema mexicana or sour cream with feta.
  5. Smear toasts with crema mixture. Top crema with grilled corn.
  6. Squeeze a lime wedge over each.
  7. Garnish with cilantro leaves and sprinkle with chili powder.

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Three Years Ago:

Rigatoni with Eggplant Caponata

IMG_7901

We ate most of this tangy relish over pasta and plan to eat the leftovers as a crostini topping (with basil) or as a sandwich spread (with mozzarella) – YUM! Pasta water can be added to the caponata to make a thinner sauce for pasta, but I prefer a chunky and thick sauce. This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more if needed, to taste
  • 2 large eggplants (2 1/4 pounds total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup red-wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • freshly grated Parmesan, for serving, if desired
  • fresh basil, for garnish, if desired
  1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, raisins, pine nuts, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; cook stirring occasionally, until onion has softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste, cocoa powder, and sugar; cook, stirring, until tomato paste is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggplant, vinegar, and 2/3 cup water.
  3. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender and mixture is thick, 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and more sugar (up to 2 tablespoons), as desired.
  4. Cook the rigatoni according to the package directions in salted, boiling water. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  5. Combine cooked pasta with approximately 3 cups of the sauce, or as desired. Gradually add reserved pasta water until desired consistency is achieved.
  6. Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil, if desired.

One Year Ago:

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