Post by Alison Hein.
Soft, fresh ricotta cheese is a wonderful, light additive to many dishes – traditional Italian fare such as pastas and pizzas, delicious desserts like cheesecakes and cannoli, or simply smeared across a slice of toasted semolina. It also works surprisingly well with simple scrambled eggs.
The origins of ricotta are, like most food history, a tad sketchy, but are believed to lie in the Sicilian region ofItaly. There is a lovely illustration (claimed to be the first) of ricotta-making in the medieval health guide Tacuinum Sanitatis. Ricotta was considered to be very healthful and to aid the digestive system.
Surprisingly, ricotta is not actually a cheese. The word derives from the Latin “recocta” (recooked), because it is produced from the whey (byproduct) of cheese-making. Originally made from sheeps’ milk only, today ricotta is also made using cows’ milk. If you cannot find fresh ricotta in your local Italian specialty shop, I urge you to try making your own as we’ve done on this blog in the past (http://www.charlesprogers.com/blogs/archives/6283). The mild flavor and texture of freshly made ricotta will enhance and enrich the flavors of your home-cooked meals.
To put an Italian spin on this recipe, I started with a ripe, red Roma tomato, sautéed in a touch of olive oil. Then, I added some dried oregano and parsley to the eggs before cooking, added the fresh ricotta near the end, and topped it all off with a handsome sprig of fresh, green basil.
Enjoy these fluffy eggs on their own, or serve them with spicy Italian sausage and a big hunk of toasted semolina for the full experience of an amazing breakfast in bed, Italian style.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small Roma tomato
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried parsley
¼ cup fresh ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
Heat olive oil in small, heavy pan over medium low heat. Chop tomato into small pieces and add to pan. Cook until tomato is warm and softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Break eggs into small bowl and whisk well with oregano and parsley. Add egg mixture to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently. Stir and lift frequently with wooden spoon to avoid sticking. Toward the end of cooking, add ricotta cheese and fold into the eggs, just to melt slightly and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving.