Yesterday was my turn to make lunch for my friends. I decided to make something new and experiment.
I had read a great ravioli recipe in the New York Times that I wanted to try. It used ricotta cheese, which I decided to make from scratch. The lunch was on Monday so I made some homemade ricotta on Sunday. Ricotta is so easy to make that you’ll wonder why you ever bought it. In fact, you can make it more quickly than going to the store and buying it.
Basically, you boil whole milk (8 cups), add a cup of heavy cream, if you want, and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to about 200 degrees, almost a boil. Lower the flame to low and add 3 – 4 tablespoons of white vinegar, or fresh lemon or lime juice. I usually use lemon juice. Curdles will form almost immediately. Spoon the curdled milk off into a sieve lined with cheesecloth, set over a bowl. Let the ricotta drain for 15 minutes or so. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a few days, or you can freeze the ricotta.
How easy is that?
I followed Melissa Clark’s recipe and then made a version of my own. We all enjoyed both versions, both of which I served with some store-bought pesto.
Here’s the recipe for my version.
½ cup fresh ricotta cheese, about 4 ounces
¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
Cornmeal, for dusting
1 package wonton skins
Mix ricotta, egg, lemon peel and nutmeg in a bow.
You can use the wonton wrappers as they are, or you can cut them into rounds. Because I felt that the squares were a bit too large, I used a cookie cutter to make rounds.
Lay out six wrappers, brush with egg wash. Mound ¼ to ½ tablespoon of mixture in center of wrapper. Cover with another egg-brushed wrapper, sealing with your fingers. Make sure you push out any air. Repeat until you’re out of filling or out of wrappers.
I placed the finished ravioli on a baking sheet, dusted with cornmeal. Put in the refrigerator until ready to use.
When you’re ready to cook, place the ravioli in boiling water for 2 -3 minutes, until cooked through. Drain well.