I hate to see good food go to waste. Now this is not to say that I clean my plate or overeat. I am really referring to partial items sitting in the refrigerator or pantry that get forgotten about. How often do you buy an ingredient for a recipe and actually use the entire container? I seem to always have extra ricotta cheese.
I have only recently discovered ricotta cheese and its versatility. This new found love pulls me to pick up a container just to have since I seem to be able to use it in a lot of last minute dinners – pizza, pasta, etc. However there are two situations that occur. I forget I have it and then I must try and get it used before the expiration date, or I use a partially container and then I need to find another use so as not to waste the cheese.
I have found a great many random things to make none of which I would classify as a recipe. Need an afternoon snack – try mixing ricotta cheese, with some peanut butter and cocoa and dipping apple slices or graham crackers in it. A recent breakfast consist of a heaping tablespoon of Chocolate Peanut Butter – really how can you go wrong mixed with about 3 Tbsp of Ricotta and a handful of dried cherries mixed with chocolate peanut butter. Almost indulgent and yet it so satisfying and healthy.
Prior to traveling I always clean out the refrigerator whether it is a weekend away or several weeks away. I hate coming home to find surprises lurking in containers. In doing so recently I needed to use up just under 1/2 a container of ricotta. The catch I was not hungry and we had other food that was going to be consumed for dinner before we headed out the next morning.
Having recently made some ice cream and realizing I had a small amount of cream and milk leftover from that, I decided ice cream would be the perfect way to use the cheese and save it for consumption at a later date. This is the first time I have created an ice cream completely on my own and I was pleasantly surprised it came out great. In fact it was much creamier than the s’mores ice cream which was a more traditional homemade ice cream flavor.
Strawberry Ricotta Ice Cream
1 1/2 Quarts
3/4 cup Ricotta Cheese (this is approximate as I used what was left in the container.)
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup 1% Milk (you could use milk of choice, but this was sitting in our refrigerator)
3/4 cup chopped Fresh strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
Puree the mixture. Pour into ice cream maker and make according to instructions. It took about 20 minutes for my batch to become a nice soft serve consistency.
Little Miss Mixture is generally open minded with things, but she was very hesitant to try the ice cream after finding out I made it with Ricotta cheese. After she took a small bite, I think her hesitation was gone as she immediately requested more. It past her test. Now I am thinking peach season is upon us and you could easily substitute peaches for an excellent summer ice cream.