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Posts tagged ‘ricotta’

A Bowl Of Pasta

A Bowl of Pasta

I had a very busy day, no time to cook and I really wanted pasta for dinner, but I wanted a quick fix. This bowl of pasta took me 25 minutes to put together and is satisfying and delicious. I had some really interesting pasta called Calamarata in the pantry, it’s a dried semolina pasta, almost a full pint of grape tomatoes, some Italian parsley and some mascarpone and that’s what went into this dish, I also added a generous grating of pecorino romano cheese. My pasta craving was satisfied and all in less than 30 minutes. I would normally put ricotta on this and that would be delicious, I was out of ricotta but had the mascarpone that needed to be used and when combined with romano cheese it was just the right amount of creamy sharpness. You can use whatever kind of pasta you happen to love and have in your pantry, I think this dish lends itself to the substantial pasta like rigatoni or even penne. This is a dish for one, and really there is no wrong way to make it, you can add as much or as little of each ingredient. I used parsley, because I happen to like it but spinach would also be a lovely addition.

1/3 pound pasta (I used calamarata)

Pint of grape tomatoes cut in half

generous splash of olive oil for cooking

1 clove garlic thinly sliced

generous handful of parsley chopped

mascarpone (A generous dollop)

Pecorino romano grated

Put large pot with a generous amount of well salted water on to boil.

In saute pan add the olive oil, when its hot add the garlic and cook until you can smell it, don’t let it brown, Add the tomatoes and cook until they soften and release some of their juices. Remove from heat and set aside until the pasta is done,

When water boils add the pasta and cook until its just softened for a substantial pasta like calamarata it took approximately 5 minutes, you don’t want it to be cooked so that its soft. Place the tomatoes back on med/high flame and with spyder or slotted spoon add the pasta to the tomatoes, cook stirring frequently adding a little of the pasta water to create a sauce. When pasta and tomatoes are beautifully cooked add the parsley, cook another minute or two. Grate some of the romano on top and toss to combine. Serve in a bowl with a nice dollop of mascarpone and another grating of romano cheese.

White Pasta With Parmigiano Garlic Breadrumbs

For a quick dinner I took an idea from my childhood and put my own spin on it, pasta of your choice (I use linguine) with ricotta and milk and a crumb topping, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, butter and parmigiano. Take the ricotta out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you prepare the dish, it will need to be room temperature. You don’t have to be exact with the measurements tailor it to suite your taste.

Makes: 2 servings

1/2 lb linguine (or whatever pasta you like)

Sauce:

2 cup ricotta (at room temperature)

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup  grated parmigiano

Salt and pepper to taste

Crumb Topping:

1 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated parmigiano

pinch of lemon zest

handful parsley chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

2 tbs butter

splash of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Breadcrumbs:

In skillet melt butter with a splash of olive oil, add the garlic and cook until it just starts to brown. Add the bread crumbs and continue to cook until the crumbs are lightly browned. Take off heat and pour into mixing bowl, add the parmigiano, parsley and lemon zest stir to combine and set aside.

Putting it all together:

Bring large pot of water to a boil, when there is a rolling boil add a lot of salt, taste the water it should taste salty. Put the pasta in and stir.

While the pasta is cooking heat your milk until its hot to the touch,(I used the microwave, 45 seconds) put the ricotta and parmigiano in your serving bowl and add the hot milk, mix it up and season to taste. When pasta is done, (al dente) drain and add to the bowl with the ricotta milk mixture, toss to combine, top with the breadcrumbs a little more grated parmigiano and serve.

Italian Cheesecake

This is my Mothers recipe for Ricotta cheesecake, I stuck to the recipe for the most part but I can’t help but add my own touches, I added some mascarpone and though a minor change I feel it made for a creamier texture. The minute I tasted it it took me back to  the kitchen of my childhood.  The cake is flavored with lemon, rum and vanilla and it has a short crust, The original recipe calls for a 8 inch pan with 3 inch sides, I used a springform pan and only had a 9 inch. I didn’t have quite enough dough to cover the top of the cake as instructed in the recipe so I doubled the recipe so there would be enough. As you can see from my cake I didn’t have quite enough of the dough so it didn’t look like the one my Mother made but the taste was exactly as I remember it.

Short Pastry

3 cup flour
1/2 cup shortening or butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbs ice cold water, add 4 to start and see if you need more
Mix flour, salt and sugar until combined, cut in shortening or butter. Add egg and enough water so that dough forms a ball. Add water 4  tbs to start and more if needed.  I made it in the food processor, add flour, sugar, salt and butter and pulse until it resembles crumbs.Beat egg with 4 tbs water and with motor running add through feeding tube, pulse until dough forms a ball. Add more water if you notice the dough is dry. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. NOTE: I had to double the recipe because I used a 9 inch pan you will have some leftover dough.
Filling:
 2  lbs ricotta (5 cups)
1 cup mascarpone
6 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs rum or marsala
3 tsp vanilla extract
 Beat ricotta mascarpone and sugar until fluffy and smooth, add the eggs one at a time beating until each egg is combined. Add the lemon juice,zest, rum, and vanilla and stir to combine.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
You will need a 9 inch springform pan, roll the dough as thin as possible and make sure it is at least double the size of your pan you will need to cover the top of the cheesecake almost all the way only leaving a quarter size hole in the center. Add filling and cover with the overhanging dough. Bake for 2 or 2 1/2 hours, believe me it takes that long my cake took a full 2 hours, it’s almost souffle like and you want the filling to be set completely before removing from the oven. The crust will be golden brown and as it bakes the filling rises almost causing a dome, it’s supposed to do that, it goes down when removed from the oven. Let cool completely in the pan. You do not have to refrigerate overnight like a regular cheesecake.  Serve when cooled, and if not serving after cake has cooled cover and refrigerate.

Not quite enough crust but still delicious

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are tender and moist, flavored with lemon and chock full of blueberries. The batter has both whole milk ricotta and whole milk buttermilk. I love the combination of lemon and blueberries and the ricotta and buttermilk give these muffins a slight tang that is delicious. I also used some cake flour to give them a more tender crumb. The muffins are only slightly sweet and to add a little more sweetness, after you remove them from the oven brush with some melted butter and dust with granulated sugar.  When you just have to have a muffin I hope you will give these a try, they are simple to make, and you can whip them up in a flash. They also freeze beautifully. NOTE: If you use lowfat buttermilk and part skim ricotta increase butter to 6 tbs +4 tbs vegetable oil, and if you use lowfat buttermilk with whole milk ricotta just increase the butter to 6 tbs+ the 2 tbs vegetable oil.

Ingredients:

4 tbs melted butter
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour +2 tsp for blueberries
1/2 cup cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk (whole milk buttermilk if you can find it)
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
2 large eggs at room temperature lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries frozen (use fresh when in season)
1 1/2 tbs lemon zest
2 tbs butter melted  (to brush on top of muffins)
2 tbs granulated sugar (to dust tops of muffins)
Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin
Melt butter and add the oil, sift flour,baking powder, baking soda,salt and sugar into large mixing bowl, add the wet ingredients and lemon zest and stir only to mix, it may be a bit lumpy but thats ok. Sprinkle the blueberries with the flour and toss, add to the batter and gently stir. Place into lined muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. Let muffins sit for 10 minutes in pan, then place on rack to cool, brush top of the muffin with melted butter and dust with granulated sugar.  Makes 12 muffins