On New Year’s Eve, we gathered with our friends in Dallas. We do this every year with them, taking turns hosting, and for over twenty years, we have rung in the new year together. It’s a sweet tradition.
This year was our year to drive over to their house, and Wendy asked if I would bring an appetizer. When I thought about what sounded good, all I could think about was Homemade Ricotta with Blistered Tomatoes. The combination sparks a lot of joy for me.
I have been a believer of the transformative powers of Homemade Ricotta ever since I made it for the Ina In A Year project, and today I want to convince you that not only can you make ricotta in your home kitchen, but you must.
Homemade Ricotta is other-worldly good. The kind of flavor that opens your eyes to what is possible and then reminds you that what you’ve been buying in the plastic grocery store tub should not be allowed to be called by the same name.
As for the blistered tomatoes, once you have this recipe in your rotation, you will call on it year-round. Serve it with toasts and cheese for an appetizer. Serve it with pasta for dinner. Serve it with grilled fish or chicken as a side. No wrong way to serve a blistered tomato.
Ready to see this combo in action? I created a video for you below. I hope you enjoy!
Homemade Ricotta with Blistered Tomatoes
for the ricotta…
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- cheesecloth for draining
for the blistered tomatoes…
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6-8 garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 1 bunch basil chopped
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- To make the ricotta, bring the milk, heavy cream, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed pan.
- While you wait for the mixture to boil, prepare your draining station. Line a colander with cheesecloth, allowing it to drape over the edges. Place the lined colander inside a large bowl or pot to catch the liquid.
- Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and add the vinegar. Give it a quick stir, and let it sit for 1 minute. The mixture will curdle, which is what we want! Carefully pour the curdled mixture into the cheese-lined strainer. If needed, pour off the initial drain of liquid to allow space in the bowl for more liquid to accumulate.
- Allow the ricotta to drain for 10 to 20 minutes. The longer you let it drain, the thicker it will be. Keep in mind that once chilled, it will thicken up even more. I usually let mine drain for 10 minutes so it is spreadable when cold. Finished ricotta will last for about three days in the fridge.
- To make the blistered tomatoes, place the olive oil and tomatoes in a skillet large enough to hold the tomatoes in a mostly-single layer. Pile the chopped garlic on top of the tomatoes (don’t stir it in yet!) and add the salt and pepper. Heat over medium heat without stirring. Once you hear things beginning to sizzle, stir the garlic into the tomatoes and toss everything together.
- Continue to cook the tomatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, bursting them with your spoon as they soften and blister. Keep an eye on your heat. We do not want the garlic to burn or brown, but we do want the mixture to be sizzling and lively.
- Once all of the tomatoes have blistered and given up their juices, remove from the heat. Add the chopped basil and balsamic vinegar. Stir to wilt the basil.
toasted or grilled bread
or, alternatively, cooked pasta
You can serve this mixture immediately, or you can store it covered in the fridge for several days.
To serve as an appetizer, toast some sliced sourdough bread, slather it with the ricotta, and top it with a scoop of blistered tomatoes.
Alternatively, you can add a pound of cooked spaghetti directly to the pan with the blistered tomatoes to create a delicious pasta sauce. Serve and top with a dollop of ricotta!