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Planet Cheese: Make Mom a Ricotta Frittata


ricotta frittata

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Planet Cheese is a weekly blog devoted to everything cheese: products, people, places, news, and views. James Beard Award–winning journalist Janet Fletcher writes Planet Cheese from her home in Napa Valley. Janet is the author of Cheese & Wine, Cheese & Beer, and The Cheese Course and an occasional contributor to culture. Visit janetfletcher.com to sign up for Planet Cheese and view Janet’s current schedule of cheese appreciation classes.


And if Mom is far away on Mother’s Day, then make it for you. Fresh fava beans are fleeting, and now’s the moment. I also make this frittata without them, but don’t favas make everything better? Leftover frittata (not that you’ll have any) makes a great sandwich. Add a swipe of mayonnaise and a few soft leaves of butter lettuce.

Frittata with Fresh Ricotta and Fava Beans

Adapted from My Calabria by Rosetta Costantino with Janet Fletcher (W. W. Norton).

  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta such as Bellwether Farms or Calabro
  • 1 pound fresh fava beans
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Put the ricotta in a sieve set over a bowl for about 30 minutes to allow any excess moisture to drain.

Shell the fava beans. Boil in salted water for about 1 minute, then drain and transfer immediately to ice water. When cool, drain again and peel. You should have about 2/3 cup.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, fava beans (reserving about a dozen), ricotta, pecorino, parsley, ½ teaspoon of the salt and several grinds of pepper. Mix with a fork until well blended.

Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes; do not let it brown.

Slow but cheap: my Mom

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the egg mixture. Sprinkle the reserved fava beans on top. Cook without stirring until the frittata begins to firm and the bottom is golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Lift the edges with a rubber spatula to check the bottom for doneness, and lower the heat if necessary to keep the bottom from overbrowning. The surface will still be moist.

Transfer the skillet to the middle rack of the oven and bake until the surface of the frittata is golden, puffy and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Slide the frittata onto a cutting board. Serve hot or warm in wedges.

Serves 4


 

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Janet Fletcher

James Beard Award–winning journalist Janet Fletcher is the author of Cheese & Wine, Cheese & Beer, The Cheese Course, and Planet Cheese, a weekly blog devoted to everything cheese. Visit janetfletcher.com to sign up for Planet Cheese and view Janet’s current schedule of cheese appreciation classes around California's Bay Area.

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