fresh ricotta and red onion pizza

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Homemade Ricotta
Adapted from Michael Chiarello, via the New York Times 5/28/08

[Update: I make ricotta differently these days, and even more rich. Here’s the recipe.]

Makes about 2 cups; can be doubled.

2 quarts whole milk
2 cups buttermilk

1. Line a wide sieve or colander with cheesecloth, folded so that it is at least 4 layers thick. Place in sink.

2. Pour milk and buttermilk into a heavy-bottomed pot. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently; scrape bottom of pot occasionally to prevent scorching. As milk heats, curds will begin to rise and clump on surface. Once mixture is steaming hot, stop stirring.

3. When mixture reaches 175 to 180 degrees on a candy thermometer, curds and whey will separate. (Whey will look like cloudy gray water underneath a mass of thick white curds.) Immediately turn off heat and gently ladle curds into sieve.

4. When all curds are in sieve and dripping has slowed (about 5 minutes), gently gather edges of cloth and twist to bring curds together; do not squeeze. Let drain 15 minutes more. Discard the whey.

5. Untie cloth and pack ricotta into airtight containers. Refrigerate and use within one week.

Fresh Ricotta and Red Onion Marmalade Pizza

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups thinly sliced red onions
1 1/2 teaspoons golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
6 to 8 thin slices prosciutto (speck works as well)

Pizza dough for one pizza [a simple recipe, a wine and honey version]

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sugar. Cook until dark brown and tender, stirring frequently, about 16 minutes. Mix in vinegar and crushed pepper. Cook until mixture is thick, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Season marmalade generously to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 500°F. Roll pizza dough out onto the back of a baking sheet, sprinkled with cornmeal. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil; sprinkle with salt. Spread onion marmalade over the crust, dollop ricotta all over the onion layer and top with slices of prosciutto. Bake until caramelized and crusty, about 10 to 12 minutes.


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