A few weeks ago I made my first batch of ricotta cheese! It was so much easier than I thought it would be. The recipe is from Fine Cooking. Thanks to the use of whole milk and cream it is rich and luscious. While I am sure it would take your lasagna to the next level, I wanted to use it in a way that allowed it to really be showcased, not masked behind tomato sauce and heavy meats. These toasts were the perfect way to use it.
Many ideas I came across for ricotta toasts were sweet with ingredients like honey, figs, strawberries and grapes. I wanted something that would qualify as dinner, so I decided on roasted asparagus with lemon and thyme and tomato and basil. This will definitely be something I’ll make again this summer, it’s light but still satisfying. I can also see adapting this to serve as an appetizer or as part of a brunch. I’m helping host a baby shower in a couple months, and I think these would be perfect.
To make the toasts I took slices of hearty bread
Brushed them with olive oil (butter is also great)
And grilled them (a panini press or grill with do, as will broiling them in the oven.)
Top with a tablespoon or 2 of the ricotta.
Layer on some roasted asparagus.
Sprinkle with fresh thyme and lemon zest, and maybe a bit of salt.
Slice and serve.
I also made some with slices of fresh tomato, chopped fresh basil and some sea salt. I will never tire of that combination. And it’s perfect for summer when fresh basil and ripe tomatoes are in abundance.
Do you have any great toppings for ricotta toasts? I’d love to hear what you’ve tried!
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
From Fine Cooking
Makes 4 cups of cheese (can easily be halved)
- 1 galllon of whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon flaky sea salt
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- Fold cheesecloth to make 3 or 4 layers, wet and then squeeze the excess liquid out. Line a colander with the cheesecloth and set in a clean sink.
- Put the milk and cream in a large pot. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and slowly warm the milk and cream over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s 185°F, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the salt, and then slowly pour the lemon juice over the surface of the milk. Once all of the lemon juice has been added, stir gently for 1 to 2 minutes to encourage curds to form.
- Gently ladle the curds into the prepared colander. Fold the ends of the cheesecloth over the curds to loosely cover. Drain until it reaches your desired consistency, 30 minutes for a soft ricotta and up to 24 hours for a very firm, dry, dense ricotta. 30 minutes to an hour created the consistency I liked for the toasts. Be sure to refrigerate if draining the ricotta for more than a couple of hours. Transfer the drained ricotta to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.