I've wanted to make my own homemade ricotta cheese for a long, long time and the other day I finally did! Naturally I needed to add my own spin to it so I decided to spice it up with a little red pepper flakes. From there I filled some roasted Roma tomatoes with the creamy, cheesy goodness which made it truly special. Roasted Roma Tomatoes with Red Pepper Ricotta is my completed dish and one that I instantly fell in love with. I hope you do too!
If you're feeling intimidated by making your own ricotta cheese, I have a little secret for you....it's really easy to make! All you need is the proper kitchen equipment (i.e. cheese cloth, strainer, a few bowls and a pot), and you're good to go.
My recipe and method for making homemade ricotta may be a bit different and unusual, but this is what worked for me and I'm happy to share it with you! The key to making homemade ricotta is patience and knowing when to take the pot off the heat. Once you've done that, you're good, although you'll think you've messed up because it will be so thin and runny. Be patient. Straining the curds is the key...along with refrigeration. Once cold, your ricotta will firm up and become a thing of beauty.
*Note - should you decide you want to make this recipe with store bought ricotta, GO FOR IT! Just stir a pinch or two of red pepper flakes into your ricotta and fill the roasted tomatoes as directed below. Still yummy, just quicker :)
ROASTED ROMA TOMATOES WITH HOMEMADE RED PEPPER RICOTTA
Yield: 12 filled tomato halves
To make the ricotta:
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
-In a large sauce pan over low heat, bring the milk and cream to just below a simmer *Note - watch it carefully and do not let the mixture boil or simmer. You're looking for warm to the touch.
-Stir in the apple cider vinegar, salt and red pepper flakes (you'll notice curds forming almost immediately).
-Cook on low, stirring occasionally for about 4-5 minutes. *Note - it will be very thin, like watery oatmeal.
-Turn off the heat and allow the curds to sit and cool about 5-10 minutes.
-Meanwhile fold a large piece of cheesecloth and place it into a strainer over a bowl large bowl.
-Pour the curds and whey (the remaining liquid) into the strainer with the cheesecloth and allow the curds to drain. *Note - this will take quite a long time (at least 30 minutes) and will require you to discard the whey (liquid) in the bowl several times until the ricotta has properly drained.
-Once almost completely drained, place bowl, strainer and ricotta into the refrigerator to cool and firm.
For the tomatoes:
6 firm Roma (plum) tomatoes
Olive oil to drizzle
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
-Cut the tomatoes in half length wise and use a pairing knife and spoon to carefully scoop out the seeds and membrane.
-Place the cut seeded and cut tomatoes on a sheet pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
-Roast the tomatoes in a preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes. *Note - Cooking the tomatoes longer will cause the tomatoes to collapse and they'll no longer be able to hold the filling.
-Remove and cool completely at room temperature.
-Once cool, fill each roasted tomato with a nice scoop of the red pepper ricotta and top with a pinch of black pepper.
-Garnish with fresh basil leaves and chill until ready to serve or serve at room temperature.
Tomato lovers, unite! How about pairing this recipe with pitcher full of spicy bloody Mary's? Yes please :)
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Kudos Kitchen by Renée ~ Where food, art and fun collide on a regular basis!
Until we eat again,
Labels: basil, cheese, homemade cheese, red pepper flakes, ricotta cheese, side dish, tomatoes, veggies