Tag Archives: asparagus

A whole lotta ricotta goin’ on

27 Mar

Ricotta marries asparagus and gives birth to a spring pizza…then runs away with cocoa and peanut butter for dessert.


Ahh, ricotta. Supple, spoonable cheese by-product. So humble, so simple, so versatile. From savory to sweet, in dishes from Italy to India. Such a dexterous dairy darling you are. I can’t get enough of you. Tonight, I pair you with tender, reed-thin asparagus and enjoy you on a fresh, spring-inspired pizza. Later, I will blend you with cocoa and peanut butter, and sip you as a sweet smoothie. Tomorrow, I will mix what little is left of you into my egg salad as a stand-in for mayonnaise. Ahh, ricotta…How do I love thee? I have only just started counting the ways…


Asparagus & Ricotta Pizza

Adapted from a recipe published online and in April 2012 Family Circle


  • Prepared, refrigerated multi-grain pizza dough
  • 1/2 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 lb. fresh asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2-3″ pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

Directions: Preheat oven to 450. Roll out and stretch dough to fit pizza stone. (I don’t have a pizza stone, so I manipulated my dough to fit my stoneware baking sheet, which is about 11×17 inches.)

In a small bowl, toss asparagus pieces with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Grind salt and pepper to taste and mix to coat evenly.

In a separate bowl, combine ricotta, a few cloves of minced garlic, and a little extra salt and pepper to taste, mixing until smooth.

Spread the ricotta mixture onto pizza dough.

Top evenly with asparagus pieces, sprinkle lightly with crushed red pepper flakes, and bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

The concept of this pizza was good, but ultimately, Hubby and I agreed that this recipe could have benefitted from some added color and substance by way of roasted red peppers, and/or sun-dried tomatoes, and/or prosciutto. As prepared, it was tasty. But just too pale and minimalist for our tastes.

Because there always seems to be ricotta left over, no matter how small a container of the stuff I buy, I decided to use the remaining amount–about 1/2 cup–with 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, sweetener (1-2 tablespoons agave nectar), a splash of fat-free half-n-half, and a generous tablespoon of creamy peanut butter, blended with a few ice cubes, to create this yummy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ricotta Smoothie.

How do you use ricotta in recipes? Have you ever made ricotta from scratch?

Full Moon Fishylicious Stew

7 Jan


Whenever I go grocery shopping, I always feel a little bit sorry for the fish counter guy. He often stands idly, even dejectedly, while shoppers elbow each other at the adjacent deli counter, grabbing for their next-in-line numbers from that plastic dispenser thing that never seems to work right. On the other side, The Meat Men seem almost surgical in their long white lab-like coats, deftly handling all manner of loins and chuck and rump. Fish Fellow must settle for working in the coldest corner of the store, surrounded by ice chips and deathly shades of grayish-white and pink gloss laid out before him, while trying not to get too attached to the doomed lobsters in the gurgling tank that kids mercilessly tap. I make a last-minute switch to fish for tonight’s dinner, finding wild caught FAS (frozen-at-sea) haddock on sale. A bracing full-moon night, perfect for a spicy fish stew…

Note on my self-developed recipes: I am not a big one for exact measurements, timeframes, quantities. I go with my gut, my nose, and my taste buds. Let’s call it “impressionist” cooking.


Full Moon Fishylicious Stew


  • Few tablespoons/glugs of extra virgin olive oil
  • Large red onion, chopped
  • Few cloves garlic, minced
  • Italian seasoning
  • Large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • Bunch fresh asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1-2″ pieces
  • (2) 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz. firm white fish fillet, cut into 2-3″ chunks (I used haddock, because it was on special on this week)
  • V-8 Hot & Spicy vegetable juice
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Shredded parmesan, to top


In large saucepan over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add a few tablespoons of Italian seasoning, and saute for about a minute. Add bell pepper and asparagus, and continue sautéing for several minutes until tender crisp.

Add diced tomatoes with juices, and pour in enough V-8 juice to make the mixture “brothier” (i.e., almost covering vegetable mixture). Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in fish chunks and a tablespoon or two of crushed red pepper. Cover and simmer until fish is cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve topped with shredded parmesan. Don’t forget the crusty bread and bold wine!

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