I have been wanting to make my own ricotta cheese for a while now and when I found some great zucchini blossoms at the farmers market I decided to make a homemade ricotta filling.
Homemade Part Skim Ricotta with Lemon
I based my ricotta off of Mario Batali’s recipe with a few changes of my own including substituting some of the whole milk with skim.
22 ounces whole milk
10 ounces skim milk
1 cup heavy cream
Zest and juice from 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Heat the milk and cream in a medium saucepan on the stove until it boils. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice and zest, salt and sugar. Stir to incorporate and let sit for about 20 minutes. Line a strainer with cheese cloth and pour the mixture into it. The whey will drain through and you will be left with the cheese curds in your strainer. Let this sit at room temperature for about 2 hours. Enjoy!
If you want Mario Batali’s original recipe you can find it here- http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/ricotta-ricotta-ricotta-homemade-ricotta-recipe/index.html
Fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
When my ricotta was finished I got to work on my zucchini blossoms. Make sure you rinse them off, inside and out. The flowers make a perfect hiding place for bugs who want a ride to the farmers market, and then to your kitchen.
10 zucchini blossoms
1/2 cup homemade ricotta (recipe above)
1/4 cup diced or torn fresh mozzarella pieces
2 tbsp chopped basil (I used 1 tbsp lime basil for extra citrus sing)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1.5 cups flour
1 cup sparkling water
1 32 ounce bottle expeller pressed peanut or safflower oil for frying (after the oil cools you can put it back in a glass bottle and save for the next time you fry)
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan until it reaches 375 degrees. If you don’t have a candy or frying thermometer you can use a wooden spoon or rolling pin (my friend Katie taught me this trick). If you dip the wood in the oil and bubbles come up around it your oil is hot enough. Be careful that the bubbles aren’t too aggressive because that means that your oil is too hot.
While the oil is heating mix the ricotta, mozzarella, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Carefully spoon the filling into the zucchini blossoms and lightly twist the tops of the flowers together to close them.
Mix the flour and sparkling water to form a batter. Dredge the stuffed blossoms in the batter and when the oil is the right temperature you are ready to fry. Using a slotted spoon, drop the zucchini blossoms a few at a time into the oil. They don’t need long. When they are beginning to brown you can lift them out (if your oil is hot enough this won’t take more than a minute; two tops). Place on paper towels to soak up any excess oil and serve.
These turned out just delicious, the lemony ricotta was a perfect complement to the dish. The citrus and the tender blossoms balanced the richness from the creamy cheese and the crunchy fried crust.