Monday, June 2, 2008
So JES, the owner of JES publishing, came by my desk the other day and handed me the NYT section with a piece about fresh ricotta (Suddenly Ricotta's a Big Cheese, NYT, 28 May 2008). I couldn't resist it.
Although I had a long day to travel to another client's place on the west coast of Florida, on my ride back, all I could think about was making fresh ricotta. To the point I called Ian so he could read me then text me the ingredients for the ricotta and for the pasta recipe included in the story (Pasta with Tomato Broth, Bacon, Peas and Ricotta--In fact, that was the day I sent a note about bacon to Twitter).
Fresh ricotta was surprisingly easy with a recipe from Michael Chiarello: --1/2 gallon whole milk mixed with 2 cups buttermilk. Heat over high, stirring, to 175 degrees (stirring until it starts to steam; yes, I use a candy thermometer). Spoon the curds into a cheesecloth (he says ladle; a slotted spoon seemed to make more sense to me...) and let drain first five minutes, gather the cloth up, then let rest another 15 minutes. You get 2 cups of smooth, creamy--and, yes, bland--spread--but it is a fresh addition to other things. (Is it a deal? I dunno. I spent $4 on half a gallon of organic whole milk and another $1.50 (more or less) on the buttermilk. Perhaps not a deal, but very well worth it...) Here is a photo of the end result.
I made the pasta with bacon and peas, as noted. You dollop a nice amount of the fresh, soft ricotta onto the hot pasta, then stir it into the sauce and grate some fresh parm on top. Ian went wild for that pasta...I want to add that the color photo in the NYT makes the peas look more like edamame...and I wish I'd had cavatelli, which is between gnocchi and a pasta.
The other recipe (I'll have to make more; I gave the remaining ricotta to JES since it was all at his inspiration) in the NYT is for crostini with ricotta, fresh thyme and dried oregano. Okay, guess I'll have to make some more fresh ricotta.