Day into night at home / 17
A dose of celebration for cooking at home!
There are foods most of us never think of making at home because we assume they are hard to make, or simply because it never crosses our mind that we can. Part of our starter this week, fresh ricotta, falls in this category. The homemade version is far better than most that are readily available, and making it is far simpler than you might think. This recipe, which I learned from the chef at one of the first restaurant’s I worked at in NY— feast, makes a lovely and slightly complex fresh cheese. It is a great canvas for so many things, and I hope once you get the hang of it you will return to it again and again— as I do.
Here it is topped with a peas, mint, and olive oil. Serve it with some really good crusty bread,, but save a thick slice or two for toast in the morning with ricotta and jam. The recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of ricotta— double it up if you are more. Come summer it is perfect for entertaining with quartered tomatoes, lots of olive oil drizzled on top, and basil. When I make it with tomatoes I like buying as many different colored tomatoes as I can— red, orange, yellow, green. For the basil I look for all sort of different ones too— purple, Thai, Genovese, and I use the smaller leaves rather than chopping larger ones, which bruises the herb. This cheese is also stellar with fragrant orange melons and fruity olive oil— a very chic version of cottage cheese and fruit.
Before I move on, to tell you about the rest of the dinner, there are two things you need to know about making the ricotta. One, you will need a thermometer. Two, it has to be made the night before you plan to eat it, so that it has time to drain and become thick and creamy. It’s so worth it, so plan accordingly.
For our entree a pasta I learned to make in Puglia. It has 4 only ingredients— orchiette, pancetta, cabbage, and olive oil. It is hearty, simple, a little salty from the pancetta, and a little sweet from the cooked cabbage. It is a perfect pasta for any day of the week— rustic and special all at once!
Last but not least, while the carrots at the market are extra sweet and gorgeous, a carrot snacking cake for dessert. You can make this cake with tigernut flour or all-purpose. If you make it with tigernut it is best to completely cool the cake and refrigerate it before slicing, since it is a little more delicate than a cake made with gluten. As you might imagine, if you've been here awhile, I'm partial to the tigernut one because it's more nutritious and the flour itself adds a layer of flavor, but you can not go wrong with either flour here.
¡Buen Provecho! xx Ana
Here's this week's breakdown:
make the ricotta the night before
the day of the dinner start 2 hours before you want to eat
make the cake so it has time to cool
clean up a little
about an hour before dinner prep and cook the pancetta and cabbage
blanch the peas
clean up a little
plate the ricotta
cook the pasta
serve the pasta
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