arugula ricotta greetings

arugula ricotta greetings


OK fine, people.  Just… just get it off your chest now.  Come on, go’on.  Just do it.  (….. “BALLS BALLS BALLS BALLS BALLS!!!“….)  Sigh…  Yeah, happy  now?  That’s real mature, guys…  May I get on with business now?  Yeah?  OK, so I want to talk about something amazing we had in Ro…  (“BALLS BALLS BALLS BALLS BAAALLS!!“)…

……  Grow up.


SHUSH NOW!  Let me talk about my arugula ricotta!!!  Yes!  One more word and you are going to miss out on the easiest but most delicious hors d’oeuvres we had on our trip to Rome, served as a complimentary “welcome” in the wonderful Roscioli in the heart of Jewish Ghetto.  (“…….”).  Right.  Thank you.  So fresh ricotta-making isn’t a secret no more.  The recipe published by Salvatore BKLYN, a tiny cheese maker in New York, has been spread like the gospel truth by her holiness and has since enlightened the rest of us sentient beings on the elegant pleasure of simple cheese-making.  But shamefully having fresh whole-milk ricotta as a kitchen staple for quite some time now, I wasn’t even aware of its versatility until Roscioli handed us a petite cylinder-shaped ricotta flavoured with things from arugula, to smoked salmon, to dried cranberries as their “welcome appetizer”.  With a basket of warm and crusty bread, these ricotta were something wonderful.

arugula-ricotta6 arugula-ricotta7arugula-ricotta13

Returning home, I had to put what I learned about making fresh ricotta together with these new flavours, starting with my favorite, arugula.  Without a petite cheese mold, I reverted back to the good-old cheese clothe method and (“balls…”) ..and hung them to form a round shape (“balls…”) ..which turned out wonderfully (“baaaawwlllssss…..”).  ……..Imagine these as your own little “hello” to guests coming over for drinks or dinner (“I made some balls…”) ..or even as a surprising gift instead of cookies-again (“here’s some balls for you…”)….

…. Right.  I see how it is.  Go on, laugh.  I’ll go enjoy my, yes exactly, ricotta BALLS!


Ingredients: ricotta recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Salvatore BKLYN

  • 3 cups of whole milk (the best you can find)
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • 3 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp of arugula, finely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • Fine sea salt

Combine whole milk, heavy cream and sea salt in a sauce pot.  Set it over low heat with a heat thermometer and slowly heat the milk to 190ºF/88ºC.  Stir occasionally to prevent scolding.

Meanwhile, squeeze the lemons over a fine sieve to strain out any seeds and pulps.  Finely chop the arugula.  Prepare two cheese clothes draping over two large sieves, with a bowl or pot underneath to catch the draining liquid (whey).

Once the milk reaches 190ºF/88ºC, remove from the heat immediately and add 3 tbsp of freshly squeeze lemon juice.  The milk curds would start to form almost immediately once the lemon juice is added.  Stir gently with a spatula then leave it untouched for 5 min.  After 5 min, add the chopped arugula into the milk and stir gently.  Divide the mixture evenly into the prepared cheese clothes.  Let the curds drain for 10~20 min, then tie the cheese clothes as closely to the amount of the curds as possible, into a little pouch.

If you have a wine fridge, it would be an excellent place to hang the cheese.  If not, you could hang it over any sort of rack in the kitchen with a bowl on the bottom to catch the whey.  Let the cheese drain for at least 2 hours.

You can refrigerate the cheese still inside the cheese clothe until needed.

To serve, remove the ricotta from the cheese clothe.  I like to generously apply olive oil on my hand and smooth out any uneven-ness and shape (zip it) of the ricotta.  Drizzle the best extra virgin olive oil you got and sprinkle with fine sea salt.  Serve with warm crusty bread.


  • Hannah

    March 18, 2013 at 8:07 PM Reply

    Beautiful cheese, your photographs are amazing! The “baaawwlllls” part made me snort tea out of my nose, brilliant post!

    • Mandy L.

      March 18, 2013 at 8:11 PM Reply

      Hannah, haha I was just about to think that it grossed everyone out! Actually it was my husband who couldn’t stop calling them “balls…..”…..

  • Tina

    March 18, 2013 at 9:49 PM Reply

    Does the milk need to be unpasturised or will pasturised milk work?

    • Mandy L.

      March 18, 2013 at 11:32 PM Reply

      The milk I used is pasturised milk. I don’t think I have ever used unpasturised milk before. But definitely try to purchase the best milk you can, that’s pasturised under a relatively low temperature (so the flavor is better retained).

      • Tina

        March 19, 2013 at 12:08 AM Reply

        Thanks for your quick reply! great photos! xx

  • Shoba Shrinivasan

    March 25, 2013 at 11:40 AM Reply

    Oh my, these look adorable…arugula ricotta?? YUm! I need to try this out now, I have a bunch of arugula that I bought from the farmers market…
    Lovely clicks.


  • Anjo Angela Lim

    April 28, 2013 at 9:59 PM Reply

    Hi Mandy. Just found your website, and I love scrolling through it! Such personality. Such welcoming grumpiness, like Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants whom we all secretly adore but roll our eyes at in real life for propriety’s sake. Love!

    Anyway, probably compliments annoy you so not gonna beat around the bush; just wanted to say I was looking for a ricotta recipe that was straightforward (and not listing something like “liquid animal rennet” because I mean, WHAT in batman’s name is that??) and small in quantity AND not plain old ricotta.

    WILL GET BACK TO YOU. THIS BLOG IS JUST TOO COOL. (there, a backward compliment, so don’t be angry okay.) <3

    • Mandy L.

      April 29, 2013 at 12:21 AM Reply

      Angela, no thanks for all the nice words! I give myself compliments when no one is around :p.

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