Swiss cheese is more than just the cheese with the holes in it. But why don't we know more about those from Switzerland? Why only Emmentaler and Gruyere? The Swiss cheese cartel is to blame. The Dairy Maidens introduce us to the clandestine world of the Swiss cheese business. For nearly a century, this cartel ruled the Swiss economy and conspiracy theories abound. In fact, it may have been the driving force behind the popularity of fondue.
Every region of Italy has its own type and shape of filled pasta. This one, called casoncelli, comes from the Bergamo area near Milan. It is uniquely designed to literally capture the most sauce possible in a little well on top. While it may look complicated, it's actually easier than most to make. In this extra simplified version, I've used pre-made wonton wrappers in place of fresh pasta. Sacrilege maybe. But when you're pressed for time, a wonderful alternative.
Sweet Pea Casoncelli
1-1/4 cup fresh, cooked & cooled peas
1 cup ricotta
1 pack wonton wrappers
1 stick unsalted, sweet butter
1/4 lb Myzithra cheese, grated (or salty Pecorino)
salt & pepper to taste
Start boiling a large pot of water with enough salt to make it salty as the sea.
Smash 1 cup of the peas with a fork and blend with ricotta. Place mixture in a piping bag.
Pipe roughly 1 tbsp of the pea mixture into the center of a wonton wrapper.
Dip your finger in water and run water along all four edges of the wrapper.
Fold the wrapper in half to form a rectangle.
Squish from around the mound of mixture out to each edge to press out the air.
Press the edges firmly together to seal tightly.
Take a cookie cutter and cut a half circle shape.
Place a dot of water on the roundest edge of the wrapper.
Fold mound of filling directly over the dab of water.
Press a finger on the top of the mound to form a well and seal it to the bottom.
Pile the casoncelli on a slotted spoon and place gently in the water.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat until brown bits form on bottom.
Cook over gentle boil 3-5 minutes until the cansoncelli float and become slightly transparent.
Transfer to plate with slotted spoon.
Drizzle butter over casoncelli, top with heaps of grated cheese and remaining peas.
...the kind you find at Venissimo Cheese store! Well, you don't really find it there, but we are happy to tell you how to make it. This is one of our favorite dessert recipes using fresh ricotta cheese. Once you make and taste your own ricotta, you'll never want to buy it pre-made again.
Blend fresh ricotta with enough honey & lemon zest to reach desired sweetness.
Fill or top serving vessel with a scoop of ricotta (in this case a chocolate tartlet).
Top with boozy berries and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Hit with brûlée torch to create a slight char and serve.
Fresh & Fluffy Ricotta
1 gallon whole milk, NOT ULTRA-PASTEURIZED
1 quart buttermilk
1 tsp citric acid
1 tsp salt
Combine ingredients & heat to 195 degrees in heavy stockpot (just before it boils).
Remove from heat and let sit undisturbed for 15 minutes.
Carefully pour or scoop curds into a nylon cheesecloth-lined strainer.
Let whey drain until desired texture is reached & cheese is cool.
Best used fresh, but can be stored in refrigerator for up to one week.
6 ounces fresh berries
1 cup sweet liqueur (such as Limoncello, Cointreau, Brandy, Grand Marnier)
Macerate (soak) favorite berries in favorite booze for at least 30 minutes.
Joe is the executive chef for the Urban Kitchen Group, which includes the wildly popular Cucina Urbana where he makes his own charcuterie. In this episode we discuss the differences between various types of charcuterie, including pate, sausage and cured meats, and how the fermentation of meat to make charcuterie practically mirrors the fermentation of milk to make cheese.
"Podcasting opens a window into the soul of a creator."
Gina Freize is the founder and Cheese Wiz of Venissimo Cheese and host of Noon on Tuesday, a blog series all about cheese all the time.