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Posts Tagged ‘Ricotta’

We came across this Joe Trivelli recipe at the weekend when trying to find a lunch dish that would use up half a tub of ricotta. It’s definitely worth buying a tub of ricotta for too.

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs a wine that has a bit of acidity and freshness, so taking inspiration from the grated Pecorino on top we went for the similarly named Pecorino grape from the Marche. The crunchy, characterful Vellodoro Pecorino from Umani Ronchi well met the mark and reminded us of summer too, which was a bonus.

Pasta with pine nuts and ricotta – serves 4

  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 300g tomatoes, peeled and chopped (Joe recommends yellow tomatoes but we had red)
  • 3 sprigs of basil
  • 400g short pasta, we used fusilli
  • 200g ricotta
  • 50g grated pecorino
  • extra virgin olive oil

Put the garlic into a wide pan with 3 tablespoons of oil and place over a medium heat. When the garlic starts to turn golden, add the chilli. Turn the heat down low, remove the garlic and add the pine nuts. Allow them to colour but watch carefully or they could burn.

Add the tomatoes and basil sprigs and season. When the sauce starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of boiling salty water until al dente. Scoop out a mug of cooking water before draining.

Toss the pasta with the tomatoes and pine nuts, then add the ricotta, half the pecornio and a few spoons of cooking water. Keep turning the pasta over until you have a nice consistency, adding more water if it looks dry. Serve in warm bowls with the rest of the cheese and a drizzle of your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from The Modern Italian Cook by Joe Trivelli, Seven Dials, 2018.)

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An excellent recipe for figs from Ottolenghi Flavour with the hot dressing perfectly complementing the cool ricotta. You can have the figs and the dressing made well in advance, making this dish simple to plate up.

Wine Suggestion: a complex and challenging dish to match with wine but if you can find a good, dry-ish Marsala, aged Tawny Port, or an Oloroso sherry with a hint a sweetness you’ll find the oxidative characteristics, hints of sweetness and tertiary, developed aromas and flavours really work a treat.

Grilled figs with Shaoxing dressing – serves 4 as a starter

  • 8 ripe purple figs, halved
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 ½ maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or you can use pale dry sherry)
  • 2 ½ tsp Chinkiang vinegar (or half this quantity of balsamic)
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced into rounds
  • 1 lemon, finely shave the skin to get 5 strips (a vegetable peeler works well)
  • 60g rocket
  • 140g ricotta

Preheat the grill to its highest setting.

Toss the figs in a bowl with the soy sauce and 1 ½ tbsp of maple syrup, then set them cut side up on a parchment lined baking tray. Don’t leave any paper hanging over the edges as it could burn.

Roast the figs close to the grill until soft and caramelised but still holding their shape. It’s fine if they blacken a bit in places. Return the figs and any juices to the same bowl, then add the Shaoxing rice wine, Chinkiang vinegar and another tbsp of maple syrup. Toss together very gently and set aside for at least 1 hour (or overnight).

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat, then fry the chillies for 3 minutes. Add the lemon strips and fry for 30 seconds more then immediately pour into a heatproof bowl and set aside to infuse for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).

Arrange the rocket on a platter and top with the figs and dressing. Dot with ricotta and finish with the oil, chillies and lemon.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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This is much lighter than your average pasta bake and therefore perfect for midweek. It’s packed full of flavour and you can freeze the leftovers too. Serve with a salad.

Wine Suggestion: Perfect with an easy, mid-weight red like the Umani Ronchi Rosso Conero Serrano, a joyful blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese. Food friendly and also easy sipping on its own.

Spinach & Ricotta Pasta Bake – serves 6

  • 400g wholewheat penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 250g roasted peppers from a jar, diced
  • 700g jar passata
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 100ml water
  • 200g ricotta cheese
  • a small handful of sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 150g baby spinach
  • a handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 125g mozzarella ball, diced
  • 15g Parmesan, finely grated

Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.

Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil and cook the pasta for the shortest time indicated on the pack, then drain and run under cold water until completely cooled. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in another large saucepan, then cook the onion for about 5 minutes or until softened. Then add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cook for a further minute.

Add the roasted peppers, passata, tomatoes and oregano. Pour the 100ml of water into the passata jar, give it a shake, then add this too. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the ricotta and chopped sage together and season with salt and black pepper.

Stir the spinach and basil into the tomato sauce until wilted, then season the sauce with salt and black pepper. Add the pasta and stir to coat in the sauce, then tip it all into a large roasting tray or lasagne dish.

Scatter over the mozzarella, dot with the ricotta mixture and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake on a high shelf in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight & Get Fit by Tom Kerridge, BLOOMSBURY ABSOLUTE, 2018.)

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We made this a little while ago because we had some spare ricotta in the fridge. It was a really tasty mid-week meal with great flavours; lovely with some greens on the side.

Wine Suggestion: Keep it simple and go for a lightly oaked Chardonnay, Domaine Ventenac’s Cuvée Carole is a old favourite that has a lovely light touch.

Stuffed chicken with lemon, capers & chilli – serves 2

  • 2 large chicken breasts, with skin on
  • 4 tbsp ricotta
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • small handful of parsley
  • greens to serve or potatoes if you like

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.

Cut a slit in the side of each chicken breast, then use your fingers to make a pocket.

Mix the ricotta, half the lemon zest, Parmesan, capers, chilli flakes and seasoning in a bowl. Push this mixture into the chicken breasts, then secure with a cocktail stick.

Place the stuffed chicken into an ovenproof dish, drizzle over 1 tbsp of the olive oil and season. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the other tbsp of oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped garlic and cook gently for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, season well, then simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened.

Spoon the tomato sauce onto plates, top with the chicken and sprinkle over the parsley and the rest of the lemon zest.

(Original recipe by Jennifer Joyce in BBC Good Food Magazine, October 2012.)

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We have a 7 year old at home who is usually very good at eating pretty much anything we put in front of her. Recently though, she’s gone a bit fussy and very plain in her requests. We’re remaining calm and trying to cook some kid-friendly food to coax her back to her adventurous self. Served with salad and garlic bread, the dish was scraped clean.

Wine Suggestion: Youthful, Italian reds are the order of the day, be it a Sangiovese or Montepulciano, or tonight’s choice of Barbera from Pico Maccario in the Piedmont.

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni – serves 6

  • butter for greasing the dish
  • 18 cannelloni tubes (you can use a few more if you have extra filling and enough room in your dish)
  • 30g Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 300ml chicken stock or veg stock
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 60g sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 500g spinach leaves, chopped
  • 500g ricotta cheese
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg

Make the tomato sauce first by heating the oil in a saucepan, then adding the celery, onion, carrot and garlic. Cook gently for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the stock, tomatoes and tomato purée, then season well with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer, stirring now and then, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling by heating the oil in a large pan, then add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the spinach and cook over a high heat for a couple of minute until completely wilted. Cool slightly, then stir in the ricotta, nutmeg and plenty of seasoning.

Purée the tomato sauce in a food processor, then stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.

Grease a large ovenproof dish in which the cannelloni tubes can lie in a single layer.

Spoon the filling into the cannelloni tubes. Two teaspoons works best for this; 1 to spoon the filling into the tube, and use the opposite end of the other spoon to push the filling down into the tube.

Arrange the filled cannelloni in the dish, then cover with the tomato sauce and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, then serve with extra Parmesan on top.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook, DK, 1995.)

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We won’t tell you how to make pizza dough again but you can find the recipe we use here if you need. This is just a nice idea for an Autumnal veggie topping.

Wine Suggestion: We think you needn’t stress about finding the ultimate match when making pizzas as there’s a casual nature to the dish. Choose a wine of the moment, like a Langhe Nebbiolo rather than a Barolo, or a Bourgogne Rouge, or other Pinot Noir than a Grand Cru. Enjoy the pleasure of more simple fruit. These two grapes would be our suggestion too.

Wild mushroom & sage pizzas – serves 2

  • 2 pizza bases
  • 250g ricotta, tipped into a sieve to drain
  • 75g Parmesan, grated
  • 400g mixed wild mushrooms, trimmed and halved or sliced if large 
  • 12 sage leaves

Heat the oven to 220C fan/200C/gas 7.

Place the pizza bases onto oiled baking sheets. Scatter the ricotta over the bases, then sprinkle over the Parmesan. 

Fry the mushrooms briefly in a little olive oil until just starting to cook and coated in the oil. Scatter the mushrooms over the pizza bases. Dip the sage leaves  in a little oil and lay onto the pizzas. 

Bake one pizza at a time for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and crisp at the edges and the toppings are cooked. 

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, October 2013.)

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Cheesy Ham Hock, Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne

This is a nice crowd pleaser and kept us entertained for a while on a miserable day in Dublin. You can buy shredded ham hock in supermarkets now which makes this a great prep-ahead lunch for friends.

Wine Suggestion: Tonights choice to match the dish was provided by a friend, the Chateau La Bienveillance Sémillon 2019, a delightful and easy white which had a little texture and freshness to balance the cheese, plus a little earthiness which went well with spinach. If you can’t find Semillon then Chenin Blanc will work as well.

Cheesy ham hock, spinach & ricotta lasagne – serves 6

  • 70g butter
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1 litre full-fat milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 80g grated Parmesan or Gruyère (we had both in the fridge so used a mixture)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 600g spinach (the big-leafed stuff works best here)
  • 250g ricotta
  • a grating of nutmeg
  • 300g shredded ham hock (if you can’t find ham hock you can use shred thick-cut ham)
  • 12 dried lasagne sheets
  • 50g grated mozzarella

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk (you can use a whisk if you want but I prefer to use a wooden spoon). Add the bay leaf then put back over the heat and bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring continuously until thickened. Take off the heat again and stir in 50g of the Parmesan/Gruyère, the mustard and the cayenne pepper. Season.

Put the spinach into a large pan with a small amount of boiling water, about 100ml. Cover with a lid and simmer for a few minutes until wilted, careful it doesn’t boil dry. Drain in a colander, then leave to cool. When cool enough to handle put the spinach into a clean tea towel and squeeze out the water. Tip the spinach into a food processor and pulse to roughly chop. Add the ricotta and pulse again to combine. Grate in a little nutmeg and season.

Heat the oven to 200C/180 fan/gas 6.

Spoon a layer of the cheese sauce into the bottom of a lasagne dish (roughly 24x28cm). Remove the bay leaf when you come across it. Top with a third of the spinach and ricotta mixture, then a third of the ham hock. Cover with a single layer of lasagne sheets, snapping them to make them fit if necessary. Repeat the layers with the rest of the ingredients and finish with a layer of lasagne sheets and cheese sauce. Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan/Gruyère and the grated mozzarella. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until browned and bubbling (keep an eye on it and if it is browning too much you can cover with foil).

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Broad Bean Bruschetta

A real burst of summer freshness that we assembled using frozen broad beans on a grey winter day. It is now Spring however and you might be the lucky person with some freshly picked broad beans. You can of course use frozen beans which for us are right up there with peas as an absolute freezer essential.

Wine Suggestion: We opened a vibrant Verdicchio from Umani Ronchi; their CaSal di Serra. Thirst quenching and pure peach, apple and lemon fruits that match the season as well.

Ricotta & Broad Bean Bruschetta – enough to make 4

  • 4 slices of rustic sourdough bread
  • 1 clove of garlic, halved
  • 200g broad beans (podded weight)
  • 250g ricotta
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a few small mint leaves
  • a few basil leaves, shredded

Toast the bread until light golden brown, then rub on one side with the cut garlic clove.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the broad beans for 2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water. The beans will now be very easy to pop gently from their skins.

Break the ricotta up with a fork and add the lemon juice, then stir to combine. Spread the ricotta mixture over the toasted bread and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Toss the broad beans with the mint, basil, lemon zest and remaining olive oil. Pile on top of the ricotta and season with salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

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A classic recipe that we always find full of flavour and very satisfying. A good veggie dish for a cold night.

Spinach & ricotta cannelloni – serves 4

  • 60g butter, plus a bit extra
  • 300g spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 425g ricotta cheese, drained
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 16 dried cannelloni tubes
  • 45g plain flour
  • 450ml whole milk
  • 40g Grana Padano cheese (or use Parmesan)

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Grease a medium-sized, shallow, oven-proof dish with a little butter.

Bring a large pan, containing 1cm depth of water, to the boil, add the spinach, and stir until wilted. Drain and press out the excess water, then chop.

Melt 15g of the butter in a medium pan and sauté the garlic for a couple of minutes. Stir in the spinach and season well. Take off the heat and stir in the ricotta cheese and nutmeg. Fill the cannelloni with the spinach mixture and arrange the tubes in a single layer in your buttered dish (use both ends of a teaspoon to help fill the tubes).

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 45g of butter in a large pan. Whisk in the flour over a low heat and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until thickened.

Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the sauce generously with salt and pepper and pour over the filled cannelloni tubed. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, place on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)

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Spinach & ricotta gnocchi

We’re not even sure if these can officially be called gnocchi but they’re easy and very tasty. They look pretty awful before they’re cooked and we were a bit worried that they would disintegrate altogether when they hit the water. All was well.

Wine Suggestion: These were a superb match with the Sartarelli  “Tralivio” Verdicchio we had open which was great. Sartarelli specialise solely in Verdicchio and it shows with a wine of great depth, personality and balance. There is a nuttiness to the aroma and taste which works with the earthy spinach and the balance of fruit complements the ricotta.

Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi – serves 4

  • 200g young spinach
  • small handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 140g ricotta
  • 85g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • olive oil and rocket to serve

Put the spinach into a large bowl and pour boiling water over it. Leave for a couple of minutes until wilted, then drain. Leave to cool, then wrap in a clean tea towel. Squeeze out as much water as possible, then finely chop.

Put the spinach, parsley, garlic, ricotta, flour, eggs, cheese and a generous grating of nutmeg into a large bowl and season. Stir with a fork until completely mixed. Use wet hands to make walnut-size balls. Put the gnocchi on a large plate and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to warm and bring a large pot of water to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and drop in batches of gnocchi, about 8-10 at a time. They will sink to the bottom at first and when they rise to the top you should cook for another minute, then remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm while you cook the rest.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan and some rocket.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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