What resulted was total gold.
Instead of making a heavy béchamel with cream, flour, and butter, I tried making the sauce with ricotta cheese. Simple. Delicious. Making your own ricotta cheese makes for the best results. Making your own pasta AND ricotta cheese … well that's just … insane. (Insert creepily insane smile here).
So we did it. You know it turned out great if I'm blogging about it.
Ingredients for Ricotta (originally from Ina Garten)
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp vinegar (white wine vinegar or regular white vinegar work well)
Pour the salt, cream, and milk in a saucepan and put on medium heat until it gets a little bubbly.
Meanwhile, line a fine mesh strainer with a couple paper towels. Nothing fancy here.
When the cream and milk come up to a simmer, stir in the vinegar and take off the heat. Almost instantly it will start to curdle — it looks sort of weird, but don't freak.
Give the cheese 5 minutes to cool off a bit and curdle up real good (sounds delicious already, doesn't it?) Strain it through and let it set for at least 30 minutes. The longer it sits, the denser it will be.
Give it a taste. Tell me that's not the best ricotta cheese you've ever tasted.
Now for the alfredo …
Ingredients for alfredo
1 batch homemade ricotta (or store bought if that's not your style)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp lemon zest
Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Optional: a dab of pesto (I just so happened to have some on hand), red pepper flakes, spinach, etc.
This procedure is pretty easy. Just throw it all together and mix.
This is what it looks like with pesto.
Toss with fresh pasta. You can find the recipe for that here.
Add more milk or some pasta water to thin out the sauce as you go.
This goes fabulously with chicken, pork, shrimp … or just all by itself right out of the bowl.
We had ours with Justin's signature lemon chicken.
This ain't diet food, but honestly, if you're reading all this, you weren't looking for that anyway, were you?