Recipe: Baby Roma Tomatoes with Herb Ricotta

Logan Niles

ricotta-tomatoes3These easy to make and beautiful gems combine fresh flavors to make a classic hor d’oeuvre or plated starter. Ripe Roma tomatoes, fresh herbs and a simple, homemade ricotta cheese recipe makes for a flavor explosion that sings of Summer patios, crisp white wines and the company of family and friends. This recipe is very easy to multiply to fit your needs and the ricotta filling can be used on crustini and in pasta dishes as well.

Ingredients:

1.5 cps Homemade Ricotta

2 cloves of Garlic, grated

Zest of 1/2 Lemon

3 Tbs of fresh herbs (rosemary, dill, basil, lavender buds)

2 Tbs Fresh Chives, small slice

1.5 tsp Kosher Salt

1/2 tsp Black Pepper

1lb Baby Roma Tomatoes

Fresh Herbs for garnish

Method:

Combine all filing ingredients and reserve in fridge.
Gently wash and dry tomatoes.
Using a very sharp knife, cut a small sliver off of each tomato end then cut tomatoes in half on the bias. Cutting just the slightest bit of each end off will allow halves to sit upright.
Gently cut out the seeds and insides of each half and discard.
Pat halves with dry paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
Fill a piping bag (or zip lock bag with it’s end cut) with the cheese mixture and fill each tomato half.
Garnish and chill until service.

Can be made 2-3 hours in advance.

Options:

Use different varieties of a single herb: 5 basil ricotta, pineapple and varigated sage, lemon thyme and orange thyme are just a few ideas.
Add chopped olives and anchovies.
Add chilled, minced, grilled chicken for an ultra rich chicken salad.
Broil tomatoes before adding garnish and serve hot…. really, the sky is the limit

Ricotta Recipe:

yields around 2 lbs

1 Gal (or 4 Lts) Whole Milk
1 Quart Plain Whole-Milk Yogurt (the higher the fat % the better)
3 teaspoons White Vinegar
1 teaspoon of Lemon Juice
1-2 teaspoon Salt (reserve 1 teaspoon for finished ricotta if necessary)
1/2 cup Heavy Cream

Method:

1. In a large stainless steel pot, bring the milk, yogurt, vinegar, lemon juice and salt over medium heat. Stir for a few minutes just enough to blend all of the ingredients. Heat until just under boiling then turn off completely and let sit for 2 minutes. Don’t actually allow the mixture to boil since too much heat will lead to rubbery curds.
2. Line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth (or use a new, fine weave, all cotton dish towel) and set it over a deep bowl.
3. Carefully pour the milk mixture into the strainer and let drain for 10-15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth around the curds and squeeze gently to extract any excess liquid. This will leave you with very dry ricotta.
4. Reserve the left over whey (the liquid separated out from the curd) for additional recipes and as a tasty drink for people and pets.
5. If desired add in the heavy cream and some of the left over whey to create a smoother, creamier ricotta. Of just add more whey and omit cream. Adjust salt as needed.
Use immediately while still warm or chill thoroughly and refrigerated for up to three days.

Options:

• Use all lemon juice vs. Vinegar and add an additional 2 tsp for a more tangy and lemony curd.
• Though you can used reduced fat milk and/or yogurt the trues tastes lies in the high fat content.
• Removes as much whey as possible to use the ricotta as a salad topping or as a finish for baked goods

Recipe for Soy Ricotta:

yields just under 2 cps

4 cps Soy Milk (plain for savoury and vanilla for dessert ricotta)
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
Salt as needed

Method:

1. Combine all ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer.
2. Cook for 2-3mins then store then fridge overnight to allow whey and curds to slowly separate.
3. Strain through extra thick cheesecloth for 2 hours.
4. *Due to the very fine, small curds formed soy ricotta tends to hold far more water and requires longer straining.
5.  Add additional salt where needed.

This vegan ricotta is best used chilled though it can be added to hot pasta dishes just before service. The vanilla version is particularly delicious served as a spread on muffins, breakfast breads or on fresh fruit. Store for 3-5 days refrigerated.

 

Originally posted at Blue Nile Blog