This one’s in the running for summer’s most perfect bite. You can get quite creative and fancy with bruschetta, but sometimes simplicity rules. A slab of ciabatta layered with the best ricotta you can find (or make your own — it’s easy) and a simple salad of juicy farmers’ market tomatoes dressed liberally with balsamic vinegar, jewel green olive oil, freshly cracked pepper and flakey sea salt. We could eat this everyday and twice on Sunday.
You might have seen DIY ricotta on any number of foodie blogs and there’s a very good reason. It’s easy and the ricotta you can make at home is about a thousand times superior to the commercially made products you find at the supermarket. Homemade, fresh ricotta can work wonders for a plain old pizza, salad, or pasta dish… or serve some with your favorite fresh fruit, a drizzle of honey and some toasted nuts and you’ve got an amazing dessert. It’s also a fun way to bring a little science in the the kitchen for those budding, young Harold Magees out there.
I did a lot of reading and research and I can recommend the article on Serious Eats’ “The Food Lab” as my favorite resource on DIY ricotta. You can jump right to the end for the recipe, but the rest of the article is worth a read too. You’ll get a good primer about the best kind of milk and acids to use, making ricotta for different uses (for filled pastas, cannolis or pancakes) and other handy tidbits. While you’re at it there are also a few sites that do a good job of explaining the science behind “curds and whey” (Education.com and Let’s Talk Science are two). Just think, if you make this with your kids you can impress them with your awesome knowledge of colloids!
I’ve already made ricotta a few times and am happily scheming all kinds of ways to use it. Enjoy!
Ricotta Recipes: Dinner in a Blink: Pasta Al Pastore, Leslie’s Favorite Pumpkin Muffins, Tortellini in Brodo, Good Old Fashioned Casserole: Penne with Chicken Sausage and Cheese