A Lotta Ricotta

The foods: Ricotta pasta, ricotta muffins

Last week, my husband E brought home about a pound of Monforte Dairy fresh sheep milk’s ricotta for us to eat at home, prepared in the style of New York’s Locanda Verde restaurant.

Several lunches of honeyed, herbed, salted and oiled fresh ricotta on toast later, we still had plenty left over, so I turned for inspiration to a book E had brought home from the library that same week: Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs.

I looked at the cover, remembered that Giada De Laurentiis likes ricotta (she also likes to pronounce it in an authentically Italian way, as it’s done here), and turned to her chapter in the book. There I found two enticing ricotta-based recipes: one for stuffed pasta, one for a muffin/biscuit.

The Pasta Shells with Arrabiata Sauce recipe calls for jumbo dried pasta shells to be stuffed with a ricotta, egg and Parmesan cheese mixture enlivened with chopped mint, basil and parsley. It is then baked in a spicy marinara sauce mixed with cooked pancetta or bacon (I used bacon) and topped with mozzarella cheese. The result was rich, light (as light as something containing that much cheese can be) and luscious, to use a Food Network chef-type word.

I was dubious when the recipe promised 8-10 servings using only 36 jumbo pasta shells, but 3-4 stuffed shells were indeed enough for a dinner serving, to be paired with a green salad or some roasted root vegetables on the side.

Also light – and awesomely delectable – were the lemony, cakey, muffinish biscuits Giada calls Nonna’s Lemon Ricotta Biscuits.

Warm from the oven, or warmed up from room temperature a day later, these lemon-scented cakes were just right in texture – neither too sweet nor too dense – and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I will make them again. In fact, I might have to buy more fresh ricotta just to make these muffins. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

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2 thoughts on “A Lotta Ricotta

    • hungrynovelist says:

      It’s my own photography! Of food I made with my own hands in my very own kitchen! One of the tricks to food photography, I read somewhere, is to get close enough to the food that that you can see its “pores”, so that’s what I try to do. It helps to take pics in daylight too.

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