So Emily and I made homemade ricotta this weekend. It is the most amazing, wonderful, fantastic thing I have ever had in my life. It is nothing like store-bought ricotta. It's delicious and it's ridiculously easy. Of course, I'm not going to give you the recipe here. We got it from Smitten Kitchen and made absolutely no changes. I will, however, walk you through the process and give you a recipe for the pasta dish I made with it.
Making ricotta is extremely easy. You just have to get your hands on some good-quality local milk, some cheese cloth, and an instant-read thermometer and your're pretty much in business.
Having a cooking buddy who is good at pouring hot things without spilling is also a plus. Emily will likely post on her own blog about the process later this week. But honestly, while it's more fun doing this with a friend, I could definitely make fresh ricotta every weekend.
The actually stove top part took about 15 to 20 minutes of occasional stirring and thermometer checking. Then all we had to do was wait an hour and we had tasty ricotta. One mistake we did make was choosing a colander that was too deep for the bowl we chose. After about 45 minutes I checked the ricotta and it was just kind of sitting whey. It was easily fixed by emptying the bowl.
I was actually a little worried that getting the ricotta off of the cheesecloth would be a similar process to straining yogurt. I was pleasantly surprised. While yogurt stubbornly clings to the cheesecloth, refusing to be scraped off, the ricotta just plopped right int he bowl, with only little tiny bits clinging to the cloth.
Emily looks pretty happy with it. Overall I'd say this was a success. We also canned some rhubarb chutney. We were busy little bees on Saturday.
Now on to what I actually did with the ricotta. As you may have read in my previous post, I was dreaming of roasted garlic scapes, greens, and ricotta all mixed up with pasta. And that is exactly what I did.
My CSA farm had sent out a recipe for roasted garlic scapes earlier in the week. While I really enjoy garlic scape pesto, the roasted scapes didn't have that sharp "green" flavor that D complained about. They were mild, but still garlicly. I have, however, rewritten the recipe below to reflect a change from how I made it. I originally used half a bunch of spinach and half a bunch of rapini. The rapini really overpowered the flavor of the scapes. You could still taste them, but the flavor wasn't the star of the dish. If you don't have access to garlic scapes, you could substitute a few cloves of roasted garlic. In that case I would definitely do half rapini and half broccoli. Just don't forget to blanch the rapini before sauteing.
Pasta with Greens, Roasted Garlic Scapes and Ricotta
5-6 garlic scapes
1 bunch of spinach, well washed and chopped
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
8 oz whole wheat penne or other short pasta
3 T homemade (or other very good quality) ricotta
1 T reserved pasta cooking water
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375. Toss the scapes with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast for about 5-10 minutes, or until tender and fragrant (I actually did this in the last few minutes of roasting some beets). Remove from the oven and allow them to cool. Chop them finely. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
While the pasta is cooking, saute the spinach in a large skillet with a bit of olive oil, the lemon juice and zest. Until the spinach has collapsed. Add in the scapes at the very last second. Remove from heat.
When all of the components are ready, toss the pasta with the ricotta and the cooking water. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the greens and scapes. Toss. Taste to adjust seasoning again (more lemon juice, more salt, etc).
Serve with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Shared with My Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Hearth and Soul Blog Hop