this is such a yummy salad. similar to panzanella salad but it’s easier to throw together. i love how fresh and light it is. you could use mozzarella but i had ricotta in my fridge. you could add bell peppers, olives or anything else that floats your boat.
- 1 loaf of bread (you can use any kind but i really love to use rosemary focaccia in this salad)
- 4-6 tomatos
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- fresh basil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
seasoning mix ingredients:
- seasoned salt
- garlic powder
- tiny bit of cayenne pepper
here are the steps:
- cut the bread into small pieces (like croutons) i like to place a cutting board over a dish towel so that the crumbs can be easily picked up and thrown away.
- coat with bread cubes with olive oil and the seasoning mix i described above.
- bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- dice the tomatoes and toss with the toasted bread cubes.
- slice some fresh basil, mince some garlic and toss with the bread and tomatoes.
- drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top of the salad and top with a spoonful of ricotta.
i used this dish as a side but i ended up going back for seconds. it was so fresh and delicious. it will definitely be on my list of fave sides!
ricotta is a super versatile, creamy cheese. i am planning to make stuffed ravioli pasta in a few days, so i decided to try making the ricotta cheese from scratch. it was surprisingly easy and incredibly smooth. the ingredients are simple and easy to find.
- 8 cups of whole milk (1/2 gallon)
- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar (optional)
the steps are pretty simple. lots of waiting and watching. here we go!
- in a large stock pot or other deep pot, slowly bring the milk and cream to a boil.
- once there is a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the salt. once the salt is stirred in, slowly add the lemon juice. ps- this lemon juice is from costco and is really yummy. my husband and i drink it every morning with a little water for its cleansing qualities and health benefits. that’s a little tip from my father in law!
- cook for 20-30 minutes or until you see curds starting to form on a low boil. if it feels like the curds aren’t forming, add a teaspoon of white vinegar to hurry the process. the vinegar/ citrus is supposed to help separate the curds from the whey. (the whey is the liquid that we will dispose of later when straining.)
- in the meantime, take a large bowl and place a strainer inside it. next, please the cheese cloth on top of the strainer and make sure there is enough room so that you can tie up the cheese cloth later.
- once the mixture has boiled long enough and the curds are forming, pour the mixture over the cheese cloth slowly and let it strain.
- after a few minutes, tie up the bundle of ricotta in the cheese cloth and hang from your sink faucet to drain fully. i like creamier ricotta so i let it hang for about 25 minutes but you could hang for an hour for more dry ricotta. if you like super moist ricotta, hang for as little as 5 minutes.
- after hanging, untie the cheese cloth and pour into a bowl. the cheese will last about 7 days in the fridge.
you could spoon some ricotta onto some toast with honey, use it in a healthy bruschetta snack or add a couple of dollops to marinara sauce. check back soon to see how i use it in ravioli! happy eating