1 tsp citric acid
1 tsp cheese salt
1/2 cup of grated romano or parmensan cheese
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Ground nutmeg to taste
8 oz dry pasta I used shells but any kind would work
2 cooked italian sausages
1 handful of baby spinach
Step 1: Make the Ricotta Cheese
I bought a cheese making kit and started with ricotta cheese. The kit contained citric acid, cheese salt, an instant read thermometer and cheesecloth. I would think you could use store bought ricotta but you want to drain it a bit so that the cheese is dry.
This is so ridiculously easy I'm ashamed I've never done it before because I'm such a cheese lover. There are lots of recipes out there on how to make ricotta cheese. You do not need to buy a kit.
Measure 1 teaspoon of citric acid or lemon juice into 1/2 cup of non-chlorinated water and stir until dissolved.
Step 2: Add the Milk and Citric Acid
Pour the citric acid solution into the milk and stir throughly. You can add 1 teaspoon of cheese, canning or kosher salt. It must be non-iodized salt or the curds will not form.
Step 3: Heat the Milk
Step 4: Curds and Whey
Step 5: Drain the Curds
Carefully and gently pour the curds into the lined colander. It is very hot and the yellowish whey will pour first and then the white curds will drop into the bowl. Don't burn yourself.
You may have to set the colander over another bowl or pot to finish draining if the first bowl gets too full. I used a spoon to gently turn the curds to drain as much liquid as I could. Drain the curds for 15 minutes or until the curds have reached the consistency of wet mashed potatoes. Shown are pictures of the curds and whey.
Step 6: Cook the Pasta
Once done cooking, drain pasta in a colander and put aside.
Step 7: Put It All Together
I heated some pre-cooked italian sausage and sliced into rounds and added that to the pot along with a large handful of fresh baby spinach. Stir to heat thoroughly until spinach is wilted.
Ladle into bowls and top with the remaining grated romano or parmesan cheese.
It is a light and tasty dinner. I thought it would be too rich but the ricotta is dry so it doesn't weigh the dish down.
Serve with a salad and crusty bread and it would serve 6 people.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.