Cheese lovers, rejoice! Today’s post is all about making cheese, and a recipe to go with it- aka a quick veggie “pasta” dish, perfect for weeknights when you are pressed for time. Williams Sonoma has a cheese tasting kit that comes with everything you need to make four delicious cheeses (except the milk, of course). The kit makes it totally simple to get all DIY in the kitchen. The process only takes an hour, and the end result is fresh and can impress any dinner guests. For this particular cheese-making session, I decided to go for whipping up a Ricotta. I also decided to use goat’s milk. A lot of people find that goat’s milk is easier on their digestive system, because it contains less lactose than cows milk. Plus, I love the tangy flavor of goat’s milk.
The instructions with the kit were easy to understand ( even for those who have minimal culinary skills), and I love that you are able to customize the cheese with any herbs or flavorings that you like. Get creative! Rosemary and oregano would be killer in this ricotta. Just be sure to watch the milk carefully on the stove, since the window for the proper cheese-making temperature is not a far step from milk-scalding temperature. I watched that little cheese thermometer that came with the kit this.close. Can you blame a girl for wanting to make perfect cheese???
Once the milk reaches proper temperature, in goes the citric acid (to form the curds). This is where the magic happens. Before you know it, the curds separate from the whey. *Insert happy dance here* Stir very gently, so as not to break up the curds you worked so hard to form, and pour the lovely curds into the cheesecloth. Tip: save the whey for using in smoothies for a boost of protein! Freezing it in ice cube trays makes blending up cold, creamy smoothies that much easier. Once the curds look as ricotta-esque as they do below, add in cheese salt-a little goes a long way! You can eat your ricotta just like that, which is totally heavenly, or you can stick it in the fridge to set up and chill, which is also heavenly. You can’t go wrong with the cheese, people!In keeping with the cheese theme, if you asked me what one of my favorite savory indulgences is, without a doubt one would be cheese. Real cheese, though. Not in a can. Not nacho cheese. Not Kraft cheese. Anyone else a cheese lover/snob like me? #sorrynotsorry. It’s a no brainer that cheese and pasta go together, and I can’t think of a better way to use up the fresh goat’s milk ricotta than dolloping it it over Veggie “Pasta”. I’m a big fan of making spiralized veggie noodles. Not only are veggie noodles lighter than regular pasta, but whipping up spiralized noodles is a great way to fit more veggies on your plate. This recipe comes together quickly, so it has become a go-to on those days when I just don’t have time.
Veggie Pasta with Fresh Ricotta
- 4 medium zucchini
- 4 cups of spinach
- 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce (homemade, or store-bought, whichever is on hand)
- ricotta cheese (highly recommend making cheese yourself at least once in your life!)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- oil, for misting pan
- Spiralize the zucchini. If you do not have a spiralizer, you can julienne the zukes or use a veggie peeler to made wide noodles.
- In a pan, sauté mushrooms over medium-high heat until tender and they begin to release their juices. Add the zucchini, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a separate pan, cook spinach until wilted.
- Add tomato sauce, salt, and pepper to the pan with the zucchini noodles, and cook until heated through.
- Plate the “pasta”, and top with wilted spinach and a dollop of ricotta. Bon Appetit!
Tell me- are there any other cheese-obsessed foodies out there? Have you ever tried making your own cheese? What is your absolute favorite cheese? For me any creamy cheese with truffle in it is #theultimate. Sinful? Maybe. But what is life without a treat from time to time? 🙂