Fine dining on the steps of the Pantheon, drinking my favorite Italian birra
Last week while looking up information on homemade creme fraiche, I also came across several recipes for homemade ricotta. They sounded simple, tasty and like something I just had to try myself.
The recipe I chose was from a guest post by Dave Lebovitz on Simply Recipes. It's very straightforward with only a few ingredients: 1/2 gallon of whole milk, 1 cup of yogurt, 1/2 cup of cream, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt.
After reading the comments about the recipe I decided to swap a 1/2 cup of my homemade creme fraiche for the cream.
(I realize I neglected to mention this at the beginning of the post, but I'm sure by now everyone realizes that this was not going to be that Part-Skim Ricotta crap. When given a choice, I almost always choose the full-fat dairy products. They just taste so much better. And when the flavor is better and the food is richer, you tend to eat less anyways. It all balances out in the end.)
Back to the recipe...
The hardest part of this recipe was watching the milk curdle because normally that is what I try desperately to avoid. It was strange and looked like lumpy ooze from another planet. However, it smelled great!
I didn't even let it finish the full 15 minutes of draining before I snuck my first taste... I just couldn't resist.
For dinner I ended up using the ricotta in a shrimp and pasta dish.
I found a recipe to use as a starting point but ended up changing it around a little bit.
I sauteed some garlic and crushed red pepper in a little butter, then stirred in 1/2 cup of milk and 3/4 cup of ricotta until it all combined. I tossed in a little salt, some nutmeg and a couple of dashes of Texas Pete's Hot Sauce. I wasn't totally pleased with the way things were headed, so I tossed in a 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes. Good decision. Next I stirred in 1/4 cup of cheese (I used a mix of gruyere and parmesan) then tossed in about a pound of raw, peeled shrimp and covered the skillet.
While the shrimp were cooking away I boiled the pasta... and dropped the almost full bottle of Texas Pete's.
12 oz on the floor looks like a lot more liquid than 12 oz in the bottle.
No, I'm not giving you the bird, I'm showing you my boo-boo.
Despite the huge mess, the cut finger and the fact that my kitchen smelled like a Wild Wings restaurant, we both thoroughly enjoyed the meal!
(I realize it looks a little lumpy, but once it hits your mouth it completely melts.)
From start to finish the dish took less than 15 minutes to make. Definitely a keeper.