Ricotta Bruschetta (with Homemade Ricotta)
It's going to be really, really hard for me to buy a tub of Ricotta cheese at Publix ever again.
Admittedly, I am a snob about buying stuff in the store that I can otherwise make at home. Cheese, in its difficulty and artistry, is not something I deemed practical or probable for this home cook. But this cheese....oh, this cheese. It's so creamy and light that it doesn't even taste like cheese, but by comparison, it's clear that the plasticky glob that comes from a tub was certainly not the way Ricotta was meant to be enjoyed.
Comprised of 3 ingredients and salt, it's versatile enough that we ate it in the following ways: off a spoon, piled on untoasted bread with homemade blackberry jam (more on that later), and as pictured, slathered on warm bread, drizzled with garlic olive oil and topped with home grown cherry tomatoes and basil.
For the ricotta, you will need:
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (not bottled)
In a medium sized heavy pot, heat milk and cream over medium-high heat until it reaches 190 degrees. Ideally you would hitch a candy or deep dry thermometer onto the side of the pot, but I dropped the probe of a meat thermometer into the pot and it worked just as well. As soon as the milk reaches 190 degrees, take off of the stove and add lemon juice. Stir it gently a couple of times, then leave the pot alone for 5 minutes.
Set a fine mesh strainer lined with a few layers of cheesecloth over a large bowl, and pour the mixture into the strainer. Let the curds drain for two hours, then either eat it immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until you're ready to serve it.
To make the bruschetta, you will need:
6-8 slices of bread from a loaf of Italian or French bread
2 cloves of garlic, thickly sliced
Small handful fresh basil sprigs, 1 teaspoon reserved and chopped
12-16 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Pinch salt and pepper
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds in the microwave. Immediately add the garlic, chopped basil, salt and pepper and put back in the microwave for 10 seconds. Let steep for 5-10 minutes, then brush each side of the bread with the garlic oil. Place bread slices under a broiler set on low, watching very closely until the bread turns golden brown, then flip and brown the other side. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. Top each slice of bread with a smear of Ricotta, 3 cherry tomato halves and a sprig of basil. Drizzle with remaining garlic oil if desired.
Ricotta recipe from Smitten Kitchen.