Tag: Ricotta

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Calzones

Calzones

Superbowl Sunday is upon us, and while I’m not a fan, my husband is a fanatic (unfortunately for him, he’s a Jets fan). Some buddies are coming over for the game and, of course, I’m cooking.

This year I’m making Italian sausage and broccoli rabe calzones with a marinara sauce on the side as the main course.

Calzones

My favorite pizza dough recipe is from Anne Burrell; you’ll need to triple the recipe to get the 2 pounds needed for this recipe. Don’t hesitate to purchase your dough from the store or your favorite pizzeria.

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Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Calzones

  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 Calzones
  • Category: Flatbread/Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded skim milk mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups chopped blanched broccoli rabe
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked crumbled sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked crumbled hot Italian sausage
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds pizza dough, divided into 8 four-ounce portions
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • cornmeal
  • 2 cups marinara sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Combine the egg, ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in a large bowl. Stir in the sausage and broccoli rabe. Season as needed with salt and pepper.
  3. Roll out each individual pizza dough to an 8-inch round, about 4 ounces dough. Brush the edges with beaten egg. Place 1/2 cup of the filling in the lower half of the circle. Fold over and crimp the edges. Press the filling down a little to spread within. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray sprinkled with cornmeal.
  4. Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
  5. Serve with a marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

Notes

Note: Taste the mixture first before adding salt. The saltiness of the cheese and sausages varies.

Ricotta Cheesecake

For months our friend Bobby has been talking about ricotta cheesecake. We had dinner at their home on Saturday and I decided to surprise him and make one. I scoured my Italian cookbooks and then my
baking cookbooks and couldn’t find a recipe. I turned to the internet and found three that use only ricotta cheese.

All three were similar. Each required 6 eggs, the quantity of ricotta varied from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, sugar from 2/3 to 3/4 cup, salt from none to 1/4 teaspoon and allrecipes.com included 1/3 cup flour. The flavorings varied from vanilla and salt to the zest of either an orange or lemon, or both, and cinnamon.

I opted for two pounds whole milk ricotta cheese and 2/3 cup sugar to add a subtle amount of sweetness. There’s lots of moisture in the cheese and eggs so I decided to use a starch to maintain structure. I chose cornstarch for a delicate texture, its binding properties are not as strong as wheat flour. Salt is a given, it highlights flavor. Next I added four large eggs. The batter was too thick so I added one more and the consistency was just right. For flavorings I liked the idea of both orange and lemon zest and some vanilla to round things out.

The cake was a success. I thought the sweetness, texture and flavors were just what I had hoped for. Bobby loved it but said he’d prefer a cake with more height. Next time I’ll try a smaller springform pan.

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Ricotta Cheesecake

Best if made the day before.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 80 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 mins
  • Yield: 1 nine-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for the pan
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • zest of 1 medium orange, about 1 tablespoon
  • zest of 1 large lemon, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle a generous tablespoon of sugar over the bottom of the pan and turn on a slant to coat the sides.
  2. Place the ricotta cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with a whisk attachment until combined.
  3. Mix in the cornstarch and salt.
  4. Add the eggs, all at once is fine, and beat until well blended.
  5. Finally, stir in the orange and lemon zests and vanilla.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes. The cake is done when it’s set in the center and the sides are lightly golden brown.
  7. Remove the to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes. At this point you want to loosen the cake from the sides of the springform pan with a sharp knife. Just run it along the side. Now you can unsnap the side of the pan or not. I was traveling with my cake and wanted to leave the sides on for protection. Once the cake has cooled, refrigerate.
  8. About 1 hour before dessert, take the cake out of the refrigerator to bring to room temperature.

 

* The websites were allrecipes.com, foodnetwork.com and marthastewart.com.