Some people just can't see the point of ricotta cheese. They find it bland, tasteless, or (like my father in law), unforgivably white.
And frankly, all those accusations are true. What they neglect to consider is that ricotta is light, creamy without being too fatty, and the perfect vehicle to carry other flavours to many dishes.
The usual places that ricotta turns up are fine, like pasta filling or stuffed into something, but i recently discovered an even better use....
As the base ingredient for a dough or batter!! And I am excited about it.
Over the Christmas period I made several TRIUMPHANT batches of spanish doughnuts, using ricotta as the main ingredient in the batter.
Also, ricotta based gnocchi was a huge hit. Potato tends to be the thing most think of to start a gnocchi dough but I have usually found the results very heavy and overly filling. Ricotta makes for a much lighter and practically foolproof result, AND far less starch for the carb conscious......
I shall include my Doughnut recipe here and post the gnocchi soon....
Annie's ricotta doughnuts
500 grams soft ricotta
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
vegetable or any light flavourless oil for deep frying
caster sugar and ground cinnamon mixed together on a tray for tossing to coat
*OPTIONAL* you may choose to include flavourings such as grated nutmeg, orange or lemon zest, cardamon etc. none of these will effect the consitancy of the batter, only the flavour, so add what you like.
Whisk ricotta, vanilla and eggs by hand until smooth.
Add flour, sugar, baking powder and whisk until smooth. If the batter seems too stiff or dry, add a drop of milk until its the correct consistency.
Rest batter for 30 min covered in fridge. Spoon into piping bag* with star nozzle and pipe 2 or 3 inch pieces (I cut strands off with scissors) into hot oil in a deep frying pan or wok. Turn over in oil so that all sides cook until golden and remove. Drain on rack. when cool enough to handle, toss in mixture of cinnamon and caster sugar and serve.
This quantity makes enough to keep 8-10 people happy. I have found that every time i make these the disappear very quickly and you will not have any issues with leftovers.
Also, making them just before serving is the best because then they are served warm, crisp and irresistable.
* If you don't want to use a piping bag, you can also do a 'drop' version where two teaspoons are used to drop a small ball of batter into the oil insead.