A dish for two, unless one of those two has lactose intolerance, in which case I get to eat it twice.
To make a sauce, half the ricotta and peas are pulsed in a food processor until green and creamy. The rest are left in their natural state for texture.
Penne, Peas, and Ricotta
I roasted some peppers early in the day to use in several recipes; otherwise you may use roasted peppers in a jar, which I rely on all the time.
- 4 oz whole wheat penne or your favorite pasta
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta, divided
- 1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed and divided
- 1 generous tablespoon roasted garlic (I freeze mine in mini muffin pans to keep handy in the freezer)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1-1 1/2 roasted red pepper, cut in large dice
- 1/4 cup grated or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I like the texture of the shaved cheese)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions and your taste. Whole wheat pasta takes a little longer to cook, about 12-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent, season with salt and pepper, then stir in peppers and 1/2 cup of the thawed peas. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- In the bowl of the food processor, add 1/2 cup ricotta, garlic, and 1/2 cup thawed peas. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Process until mixture is smooth and creamy and bright green. Set aside.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water; drain off the rest.
- Add to the drained pasta the sauce, the vegetables, the remaining 1/2 cup ricotta, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Stir to combine, adding a little cooking water if you need to thin the sauce. I added about 2 tablespoons water.
- Serve with more Parmesan.
While taking a break from those buttermilk bars, I was looking at that container of ricotta I had in the fridge, but not really in the mood for a heavy lasagna, or even a light lasagna, after those stuffed peppers and last weeks pulled pork enchiladas. Even a ricotta cheesecake seemed too heavy. There are many ricotta cake recipes out there and some take way too many ingredients, like Martha Stewart’s that takes 3 lbs of ricotta, arborio rice and 6 eggs! I must try it, but today I’m just looking for a small, lighter, fruity cake that would be good with a cup of tea. This Italian ricotta cake looks good, except for the Sambuca, but I decided on this cake with raspberries and used lemon zest and blueberries instead of raspberries, lots of blueberries.
This is a beautiful cake, dense and moist like a coffee cake. I recommend using a springform pan to make it easy to unmold. I put a sheet of foil under my pan in the oven in case it leaked, but it did not. The batter is very, very thick.
Folding in frozen berries
Baked in springform
Moist and rich
Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Cake
Adapted from “Raspberry-Ricotta Cake” at Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/raspberry-ricotta-cake-51264060
Preheat oven to 350°; line the bottom of a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper, and spray the paper and pan with non-stick vegetable shortening spray. If you’re worried about the seal on your pan, you can cover the bottom with foil, but this thick batter should not leak out.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- zest of one lemon, grated
(I like to mix the zest with the dry ingredients so the flour coats each bit and it distributes better in the final batter.)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1 3/4 cups frozen wild blueberries
- Mix the eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a second bowl. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients without over-mixing. I used a hand mixer for this step, as the batter is very thick.
- Mix in the melted butter until incorporated.
- Fold in 1 1/2 cups blueberries to distribute. The berries will start to bleed a little on folding and that’s okay, but you don’t want to over-mix the batter and break all the berries.
- Pour and spread batter in pan—did I say it is very thick? It almost looked like polenta, what with the small grains of the ricotta.
- Sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top, pressing them in a bit.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes. Mine took the full 60 minutes, but my springform pan is a heavy pan. Cool on a rack for about 30 minutes, then remove the outer ring and continue to cool.