One Pot of Ricotta - Two Meals

It seems to me that the short time at the beginning of the month when we have spare cash is over within 24 hours, a bit like the summer equinox. A fleeting, beautiful time where frivolity and reckless spending is encouraged. And then it’s back to paying with cheques and eating dried pulses and pasta.
Yes, that's right. It’s another end of the month post. Fortunately, due to some judicial food shopping during the aforementioned vulgar display of cash spending, we have enough food in the freezers to see us through the next 8 days (and next vulgar display of....)
Sometimes though, it’s not just the end of the month that makes me more inventive than usual. Sometimes I forget to take that evenings meat out of the freezer. And when you want dinner in a hurry, nothing takes longer to defrost than a concrete hard block of meat. Last night we were supposed to have chicken. I forgot to remove the chicken from its chilly lair at lunchtime. We don’t have a microwave. We had pasta with peas instead. If anyone knows how to defrost meat without the aid of modern technology, please tell me!
Actually, I had been craving pancakes AND pasta, so this was as good excuse as any to make them and I certainly cannot wait until Pancake Day which is sometime in February.
I managed to utilise some leftover ingredient: an opened pot of Ricotta Cheese (250g) with a teaspoon taken out of it (don’t ask me the reasoning behind that), some blueberries that were starting to resemble raisins plus a couple of rashers of bacon. Throw in a few store cupboard essentials (frozen peas, free range eggs, flour, milk, pasta and Parmesan cheese) and there in front of me was the bare bones of a substantial two-course (though slightly unorthodox) meal that also qualifies this as an entry for Leftover Tuesday. David at Cooking Chat is hosting a new blogging event (which seems to be my new addiction, having taken part in about 10 this week already!) called Leftover Tuesday. The aim of the game is to utilise one sad, shrivelled item leftover in your fridge/cupboard/under the sofa and turn it into something wonderful. Here then is my attempt:
Course 1, not really a starter nor a dessert but remember I was craving pancakes, hence Ricotta and Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Compote.
This should be a no-brainer of a dish. It is a simple ‘stir and drop in hot fat’ meal, but somehow in my frantic rush to make myself pancakes, I screwed up, although not to the detriment of the dish. I was working with two bowls, one with the separated egg whites in it waiting to be whisked, the other with the rest of the ingredients. However, instead of putting the ricotta in with the egg yolks and flour, I accidentally poured it into the egg whites. I quickly scooped out the now egg-white coated ricotta and placed it into the correct bowl. My egg whites were now looking like they might not whisk as well as they should, but, as every cook who makes a blunder hopes, I thought that perhaps I’d stumbled across some new culinary trick. That somehow a scientific miracle would take place between the whites and the ricotta and produce the lightest, fluffiest pancakes ever. Obviously my naive dreams were shattered promptly: the whites barely got up a froth much less the billowy clouds I had hoped. Not to worry though, once the whole lot was combined and cooked, the pancakes were actually really very delicious. The compote was painfully easy to do (although I even managed to make the sugar clump up because I had the heat too high) and was perfect with the fluffy pancakes. I think Paul enjoyed them because this is pancake as he knows it; not our frilly, wafer thin crepes but thick, fluffy ones.

RICOTTA PANCAKES WITH BLUEBERRIES serves 2 generously (about 8 pancakes, 4” dia.)
Ingredients:
150g Ricotta Cheese
2 Eggs Separated
Pinch Salt
90ml Milk
100g Plain Flour
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
150g Blueberries (100g for the Compote and 50g for the pancakes)
90g Caster Sugar
20g Butter
Some butter for cooking the pancakes.
METHOD:
In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg yolks and milk until it is lump free.
Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until gently peaking.
Fold into the ricotta/flour mixture.
Gently fold in 50g of Blueberries.
Leave the batter to rest whilst you make the Compote.
In a small saucepan, gently heat together the remaining blueberries, butter and sugar until a smooth syrupy sauce forms and the blueberries just start to pop. Remove from the heat.
In a large frying pan, heat 20g butter. Drop in tablespoons of the batter. Once bubbles start to appear on the surface, flip them over gently and cook for a minute or so more on the other side.
Serve them stacked high and drenched with the compote.

Course 2: Farfalle with Peas, Bacon and Ricotta. This is a quick pasta dish that I make in times of extreme bareness of the cupboards, usually replacing the ricotta with milk and more cheese. It is tasty, simple and nutritious and uses up the remaining 100g of Ricotta Cheese.
FARFALLE WITH PEAS, BACON AND RICOTTA serves 2
Ingredients:
200g Farfalle Pasta (bow tie)
100g Frozen Peas
100g Ricotta Cheese
1 Onion, thinly sliced
2 Rashers bacon or pancetta, cut into lardons
Grating Parmesan
Small Handful Fresh Parsley
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

METHOD:

Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet, until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup or so of the cooking liquor.
Whilst the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon until golden brown and the fat rendered.
Turn the heat down and add the onion, gently sauteing until meltingly soft.
Add the frozen peas, coating well in the onion/bacon mixture, then pour over the cup of reserved pasta liquor. This will help to form a sauce.
Bring to a gentle simmer.
Stir in the ricotta and season.
Remove from the heat, grate over some Parmesan to taste, sprinkle over the parsley and serve.
Enjoy!

And in another vulgar act of self aggrandisement, I am proud to point any regular readers to feedback left on this old post of mine:
http://zombiesnack.blogspot.com/2006/11/interesting-supper.html

13 comments:

Gemma said...

That pasta looks like it would be a success in my house. The pancakes look fab too but I don't make puddings that often as I have a sweet tooth but Chris doesn't:(

Congrats on the comment - very exciting. I love that book too!

wheresmymind said...

Yay for pancakes!! I was contemplating making some this weekend :D

Brilynn said...

That pancake stack looks delicious!

And how nice to hear that the author read your blog!

Kathryn said...

Great comment! I have that book and it is beautifully written, though I have yet to cook from it (here I hang my head in shame). I've made quite a lot from Crazy Water, though - a lovely book too!

The pasta dish is similar to one I make in similar circumstances. Mmm. The pancakes look delish!

Kathryn x

cookingchat said...

thanks for participating in the 1st Leftover Tuesdays! Creative use of what you had around!

charlotte said...

Hmm. Bacon, peas, pasta ... looks like that's what my kids are getting for lunch. Thanks for the inspiration, Freya.

Freya said...

Hi Gemma, no sweets in your house! How dreadful!! Make some for yourself!

Yes, make yourself some pancakes, repeat after me "I will make...."

Brilynn and Kathryn! I was very happy about the comment and shocked! Perhaps she'll send me a copy of her new book.....

Cooking Chat, looking forward to seeing the line up!

Charlotte, I bet kids would love this dish!

Carolyn said...

Ricotta pancakes? Yum! I've got to make some soon! :D

annauk said...

Amazingly beautiful ricotta pancakes, yummy yum yum!!!!
:-)

cookingchat said...

working on the roundup here, but before I forget...to thaw w/o a microwave, put the meat (in its freezer bag) in a large bowl of hot (from the tap) water. When the water returns to room temperature, add more hot water. This usually does the trick in under 1 hour or less depending on how much meat. I prefer this over microwaving it, as that can sometimes start cooking the meat a bit.

cookingchat said...

the roundup is posted now, thanks again for joining.

rachel said...

Pancakes and then pasta? Those pancakes look like I'd be stuffed! But that pasta looks so good I'm sure I'd be able to nibble on that too.

Anonymous said...

Your pasta dish is delish!! I make it all the time... so easy and fast. The only thing I added was nutmeg to give a little more flavour.