Making ricotta and a one pot Italian wonder

Tonight, I made two of my favorite things: ricotta and pasta (though not for the same dish). Until the other day I didn’t realize it was so easy to make your own ricotta. However, it doesn’t always turn out the way you see it in the magazine (darn you Martha Stewart for making things look so easy).

This is how I started:

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So, you put half a gallon of the best whole milk, one and a half cups of the best heavy cream, and a teaspoon of salt over medium-high heat. I bought a candy thermometer because you need to get the temp up to 195 degrees F before you dump 1/4 cup of lemon juice in it. After that you need to separate the curds and wheys.

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It took a lot longer than I thought for this to drain. Most likely because I only had a small mesh strainer. After about half an hour my mother-in-law told me (in creole) that the cheese said it wasn’t coming out tonight…

After an hour or so it settled fairly well:

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They say if you want it to be chunkier you should let it hang and drain for an extra hour, but I had just about enough waiting and will deal with creamier ricotta. Also, if you happen to have a husband who works out a little too much like mine, go ahead and save the wheys for their protein shake. It saves a good deal of money on protein powder.

Tomorrow will be the true test, though, since I’m going to make it in my challah french toast with ricotta and strawberry compote.

The second thing we made tonight was a wonderful one pot pasta dish that I’m not sure why I never thought of doing it before. Martha Stewart again makes life easier (and tastier). Her version has no meat, which doesn’t fly in our house so we add/change a few things.

First, Brunel makes the meat (usually chicken). Being the Haitian that he is, he likes to make it a little spicy, so he marinates it with paprika, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, steak rub, black pepper, celery salt, cumin, and a touch of lime juice.

quick note* in Haiti the word citron means lemon or lime. They are interchangeable in their culture, so keep that in mind when I talk about Brunel cooking.

After that, you fill a pan with all the dry ingredients you want. We put linguini, onion, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper in ours.

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We like to heat up our water separately so not to make the pasta too soft. When it’s just about boiling pour the water in with the dry ingredients and let sit for 15 or so minutes (covered). I love tomatoes so much I add a small can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes (love the Muir Glen type) to give a really great texture and depth of flavor.

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At the end just mix it up-

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-and enjoy! (With a little grated cheese)

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I got both recipes from the June issue of the Martha Stewart living magazine:
Ricotta
Pasta

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