Ok. I admit, i'm addicted to fresh ricotta. (and thats ree-goat-uh, with a nice italian accent)....
I do NOT want to make lasagne, ravioli, manicotti, or any other type of stuffed pasta, I dont want to stuff squash blossoms.......
any good ideas for fresh ricotta, if i can keep myself from just eating it all right out of the container ?
I love to mix up some ricotta, a bit of grated reggiano, salt and pepper, some diced dry-roasted walnuts, and possibly honey, and drizzle a balsamic reduction over the top and eat it like a dip with the leaves of belgian endives. mmmm. such a wonderful snack -- its creamy and rich but with a fresh crunchy texture.
I enjoyed this Spinach Ricotta Pie (with homemade crust):
I used supermarket ricotta though. Presumably it would work with fresh.
However, I think fresh ricotta is so good that I would eat it by the spoonful. Try it with figs and honey for dessert.
Mmmm, here's a foolproof recipe from Catherine Scorsese that I absolutely love (personally, I often make it without the candied fruit, but it's more traditional with it):
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into bits
1 large egg, beaten lightly
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 pounds ricotta, drained well
3/4 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup diced candied fruit
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
To make the pie crust:
Into a bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the shortening and blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and 2 tablespoons of the ice water. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and toss to combine, adding more water, if necessary, to form a dough. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, until firm.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle 1/8-inch thick and fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edge, prick the bottom, and chill while making the filling.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the ricotta with the sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cinnamon. Stir in the candied fruit and chocolate chips. Pour the filling into the pie shell.
Bake the pie for 45 minutes, or until just set. Let cool and chill.
lately I've been making a pasta dish with fresh ricotta and shaved summer squash. You shave ribbons of zucchini or other summer squashes using a vegetable peeler, add a pressed garlic clove, a little olive oil, some toasted pine nuts, fresh basil and a few tablespoons of water from the pasta pot, grated parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Saute in a large pan over medium heat until just heated through, about 2 minutes, add al dente pasta (parpadalle is especially lovely with this since its about the same width as the squash ribbons) Cook together for a minute more and serve with a large spoonfull of fresh ricotta and more fresh parmesan.
Marcella Hazan has a bunch of great recipes that use ricotta. Ricotta pancakes for dessert (in her "The Essentials...). Lots of good pastas (not stuffed), like Pasta with bacon, peas and ricotta (can't remember the recipe exactly, but if you like ricotta, get The Essentials).
I recently made a crostini with fava bean puree topped with fresh ricotta that was great. It might have been from epicurious.com.
I've had problems with Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. The editors who created it from the original two volumes (The Classic Italian Cook Book and More Classic Italian Cooking) arbitrarily reduced amounts of butter and oil without retesting, ruining some recipes, and dropped some of my favorite recipes.
I strongly recommend tracking down the two original books instead, or at least also.
Marcella Hazan's More Classic Italian Cooking has a great recipe for penne with spinach and ricotta. In a nutshell, blanch two pounds of spinach, chop, saute in 1/4 lb. butter, salt well, and toss with 1 lb. cooked penne, 1/2 cup ricotta, and 1/2 cup freshly grated Reggiano.
Piled on orange marmalade-smeared toast, my favorite.
Tossed at the last minute with pasta, a little pasta cooking water, lots of cracked pepper, a handful of basil leaves.
Made into a simplified cassata-type cake: Make a cannoli cream with the ricotta (I like ricotta, a little sugar, some grated orange peel, some chopped chocolate and/or pistachios, a splash of rum or other alcohol), bake a sponge cake and cut it into 3 layers, fill with cannoli cream (brush cake layers first with a little rum or whatever you used in the filling if the cake seems dry - or if you like booze), then frost with slightly sweetened whipped cream. Not hard to do and very delicious!
I totally support any kind of ricotta addiction. Perhaps for the same reason you don't want to use your white gold in lasagne, I tend to avoid putting it in cheesecake. Yes, it's good, but through cooking it tends to lose its unique ricotta-ness, becoming instead a pleasant creamy base. I do like ricotta gnocchi, though, since that works with rather than against its natural texture.
I prefer -ricotta with fresh chopped herbs, a splash of good extra virgin, and good bread or toast. Ricotta, tossed with somewhat warm pasta (NO tomato sauce; diced tomatoes, herbs, garlic, ok). Ricotta with figs. Ricotta ice cream, even. It sometimes makes a good sustitute for yoghurt - on cereal, with fresh berries.
Nothing wrong with a tub of ricotta and spoon, either.
The following is a Mario Batali recipe that I use. They are really good. You do not have to use goat's milk ricotta obviously.
1 1/2 pounds fresh goat-milk ricotta
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, or as needed
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Place the ricotta in a fine sieve over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. In a medium-sized bowl, stir the drained ricotta, 1 cup of the flour, the eggs, parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg together gently but thoroughly until a soft dough forms, adding a little more of the flour if the dough is sticky when poked. Forming the gnocchi: dip 2 tablespoons in cool water. Using 1 spoon, scoop up a heaping tablespoon of the ricotta mixture and use the other spoon to form it into a smooth, pointed oval. (Alternatively, you can roll the mixture into balls with well-floured hands, using about 2 tablespoons ricotta mixture for each ball.) Place the gnocchi on a baking sheet lined with a lightly-floured kitchen towel.
Here are some ideas:
Mix it with pesto for a dip or bread spread.
It's great as a spread with on cranberry walnut bread.
Ricotta pudding -- recipes on Food Network or Epicurious.
Dollops of ricotta cheese on pizza. I like a "white" pizza with olive oil, sauteed broccoli rabe and ricotta, garnished with toasted pine nuts.
Caramel Ricotta Pudding: like a creme caramel; instead of a custard, beat ricotta until fluffy, beat in egg, milk, sugar and vanilla extract; bake in a water bath.
Doctor it up and use it as a spread on bread or a dip.
Season it with chopped herb such as sage or marjoram, salt, pepper and bake it in a ramekin. Drizzle with ev olive oil.
Ricotta fritter: drain and season it, form small balls, roll in dried bread crumb and deep fried.