Today was a 3-for-1 deal – 3 things crossed off the list on one plate!
Week: 22 of 52
Cookbook: Molto Italiano, Mario Batali
I started today by making my own fresh ricotta. This is actually quite easy to do, so long as you have some citric acid and cheesecloth. Both of these can be obtained easily from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. I have their basic mozzarella/ricotta kit and I love it! But I had only used it for mozzarella. Today I made ricotta for the first time with milk from grass-fed cows at Smiling Hill Farm in Maine.
It’s really simple: heat milk, citric acid and salt to 195 degrees. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Ladle the curds into a lined colander and hang to drain for 30 minutes or more. And then you have fresh ricotta cheese!
Basically, the citric acid and heat separate the milk’s curds and whey. You pull out the curds and have cheese!
And, once the curds are drained you have ricotta:
Once that was done, I started the oxtail ragu. While this isn’t a direct Batali recipe, you can manipulate any standard meat ragu to accommodate oxtail. And yes, oxtail is exactly what it sounds like. I worked with oxtails from pasture raised Black Angus cattle at Maple Heights Farm.
I browned the oxtails first and set them aside. Next, I sautéed carrots & onions in the fat and oil remaining in the pan. Once the vegetables were browned, I added red wine to de-glaze the pan and diced tomatoes. To that, I added garlic, parsley, and rosemary. Then I placed the oxtails in the sauce and topped off with beef broth. I let this simmer for about two hours, removed the oxtails to take the meat off the bone, and then added the meat back to the pan.
Finally, JP and I made fresh ricotta tortelloni. I used the pasta dough recipe in the book, along with Batali’s basic tortelloni filling, and then just added the oxtail ragu. The dough is a simple egg & flour mixture.
Making the dough – with local farm fresh eggs:
Our fresh ricotta, aged parmigiano reggiano cheese, a farm egg, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.
Making the tortelloni:
Roll out the dough, cut into squares, add small amount of filling, fold in half and then fold edges over.
And finally, we cooked the little cheese-filled pasta pieces! We served the oxtail ragu on a bed of tortelloni and topped everything with freshly grated parmigiano. Molto buono!
- Citric Acid
- Red Wine
- Diced Tomatoes
- Bay Leaf
- Chicken or Beef Broth