I've been meaning to try making ricotta for a long time, I live in the Italian heart of Sydney though and have a beautiful artisan cheese shop down the road and fresh ricotta at my local supermarket. Yesterday though I had one of my bursts of cooking enthusiasm and a couple of spare litres of milk in the fridge and so I thought I'd make some for dinner.
I also wanted to try another crazy looking recipe I'd seen online, via pinterest, for cauliflower based pizza. Yes, cauliflower based pizza. Instead of a dough you use steamed cauliflower and cheese to form a base for your toppings.
The ricotta was so simple. First I heated my milk and cream and salt to 190oC and then took it off the heat and added lemon juice. The internet seems decided that adding a bit of cream to your milk gives you a better ricotta, which isn't so dry. It was delicious. I might have added a tad too much lemon but for a first try it was wonderful, and so easy. Here's a recipe.
I used the ricotta as a base for a favourite old Marcella Hazan recipe (download link is first one) which my sister was addicted to for a while. You fry some bacon, or in this case my new favourite (from that local Italian supermarket) Speck. Add a large bowl of defrosted peas, add to cooked pasta and lay on a base of ricotta, then stir through. Top with grated parmesan and... yum.
As a side dish I made a plain pizza using the cauliflower base. Grate and steam about a cup of cauliflower (eight minutes in the microwave, no added water) mix with equal parts of mozzarella or other cheese (about a cup), one egg and two crushed cloves of garlic. Flatten this mixture out on your pizza tray and cook for fifteen minutes on 230c till golden. Pull it out then to add toppings, in my case some passata, mozzarella and kalamata olives and put it back in to melt the cheese. Here's a more detailed explanation.
So delicious!! The kids adored it. D gave dinner ten out of ten and J had fifths. They are all eating so much at the moment, all three of them and I had to hide this tiny sliver of pizza to keep it for today to photograph. The good news is its even better the next day.
I love both these recipes and they will go on the regular roster. Not only are they both delicious and quick, but with all fresh ingredients and handmade cheeses and bases and a homegrown salad you know exactly what you're eating, and I love that!