- 2 quarts whole milk
- 1 quart goat’s milk (or a third quart of whole milk)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup lemon juice, about 1 large lemon’s worth
Pour the milk into a large saucepan. Add the sea salt and stir to blend it into the milk (the salt is very important for bringing out the flavor in the finished ricotta). Bring to a very low boil over medium heat.
Add the lemon juice and stir briefly to blend. Bring back to a very low boil and cook about a minute. You will start to see little white particles coagulate on the surface. This means the curds are starting to form.
Don’t let the milk cook any longer than about a minute or you may wind up with hard, dry curds instead of the soft, creamy texture you are after. Remove the pot from the heat, and cover.
Let the ricotta sit for about 20 minutes untouched. This will allow bigger, more substantial curds to form.
Line a colander or a tightly woven wicker basket with cheesecloth or a thin cotton cloth like a piece of bed sheet. Gently pour the ricotta into the cloth, being careful not to break up the curds too much (the best approach is to tilt the pot against the colander or basket right up at the rim; free-fall pouring may be too violent).
Let this drain, unrefrigerated, for about an hour. You will now have a rather moist ricotta, the way I like it. If you prefer it drier, you can tie and hang the cheese cloth over the sink or over a bowl so the ricotta can drain more thoroughly. The ricotta is ready to use. You may refrigerate it, but it will stay really fresh and sweet only for about two days. If you plan on baking with the ricotta, drain it well.
Makes 1 pound of ricotta.
1 pound loose spinach
12 ounces ricotta
1-1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano
Cook spinach in very little water. Drain and squeeze out all excess water. Chop finely. Place in a large mixing bowl and add ricotta, eggs, parmigiano, and flour. Blend well.
Bring to boil large pot of salted water. Lower to simmer. Season spinach mixture with salt and a generous grating of fresh nutmeg. Form ravioli by using a spoon or using floured hands.
Drop a few at a time into water. They will drop the bottom and then float to the top when done. Let simmer 20-30 seconds.
Remove with slotted spoon or ladle and place in an oven-proof dish until ready to serve. Serve with fresh sage leaves sautéed in butter until crisp.
Pour butter and sage on top of ravioli, toss gently, and serve with parmesan cheese or tomato sauce.
Photography by Trozbo
- 3 pounds fresh ricotta
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1/4 cup grated zwieback or biscotti
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream or mascarpone, optional
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Your choice of additional flavorings like 1 teaspoon Dutch-process cocoa powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water, or 1/4 cup chopped citron or 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, etc.
Place the ricotta in a sieve over a bowl and let drain for 1 hour. Butter the bottom, sides and rim of a 3-inch-by-10-inch leakproof springform or plain round cake pan. Mix the grated zwieback crumbs with 1 teaspoon sugar and coat the pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the ricotta in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at low speed until smooth. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar. Continue to beat until mixture is very smooth. Beat in the optional cream or mascarpone, vanilla and any desired flavoring. Pour into the pan and smooth the top.
Place the pan inside a roasting pan whose sides are not higher than the cake pan and add warm water to the larger pan to within 1 inch of the top of the smaller pan. Place pans in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours, covering the top loosely with foil after 30 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature in the water bath. Lift pan out, dry it and remove the foil. Refrigerate overnight, and it will firm up.
To unmold, slide a thin knife around the cake edges. Release the sides of the springform pan. If using a plain cake pan, invert onto a large plate covered with plastic wrap, tap the bottom and the cake should slide out. (If it does not, soak a towel in hot water, wring it out and place it over the bottom and sides of the pan for 10 seconds.) Reinvert cake onto a platter. Refrigerate until serving.
Makes 12 servings.
Photography by Stuart Spivak
- 2 small very fresh zucchini, trimmed and cut into large chunks
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. fusilli
- 2 Tbs. coarse salt
In a blender or food processor, combine the zucchini, cheeses, lemon zest and basil. Process until a light green paste forms. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside.
Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and the coarse salt, stir well and cook until the pasta is al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 9 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
Place all of the sauce in a warmed serving bowl and stir in the cooking water. Add the pasta and toss well to coat with the sauce. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Tuscany, by Lori De Mori (Time-Life Books, 2001).
Photography by Bomee