Banning Ricotta, Sorry Giada
I’ve made a whole bunch of pasta salads in the past few years, each of them slightly different. Some with a pesto flare, others dressed in extra virgin, dijon and lots of veggies. And many variations in between, although never including mayo.
This most recent pasta salad was during my friend Julie’s wedding weekend, where one of the nights was dedicated to a grill session in her HUGE backyard. I also realized I sucked at badminton, but that’s another story, just ask 80.
Earlier in the day I stopped by a farmers market in Jersey and picked up squash and zucchini to be grilled for the pasta salad. (Okay, now I was chatting with someone about this but we never found the conclusion, I’m hoping someone out there can help – zucchini is a squash, right? And if so, why don’t the yellow squashes have their own name. There are tons of other squashes with proper names – butternut, spaghetti, acorn…Why not the yellow squash?)
Okay, so I have the veggie, but I still haven’t decided on the sauce for the salad. I automatically think to use feta, but decide to go to the grocery store and see what hits me. I’m in the dairy aisle picking up sour cream for DAD GANSIE (my mom accidentally heated up his container in the microwave) and I stumble upon ricotta. I’m not super familiar with the cheese, expect for in lasagnas, and every time I watch Giada’s show. I dial up my chef-on-call, BS, and ask if he thinks ricotta will work in my dish. We all know BS is game for anything, and without hesitation, he said to try it.
Now, the rest of the post is not meant to knock BS or anything, because he surely didn’t know about the massacre that I would soon create with the cheese he just gave the go-ahead.
This is also not a recipe, because I do not think you should try this at home. But I will tell you what happened.
I added in dollops of ricotta to just cooked/still hot pasta. The pasta, um, I don’t know, kinda sucked up the ricotta and barely left any flavor. With salt, pepper, extra virgin, scallions, garlic, pre-grated blend of parm reggiano and pecorino romano – it still kinda sucked. The ricotta kept melting and just left a grainy texture. I said – fuck it, wrapped it up and took it to the bbq.
I had Gary (Jules’ now *husband*) grill up the squash and I retossed the pasta with oil. The pasta is now room temp so I added in more spoonfuls of the cheese. My vision for the salad was soft clumps of cheese, creamy noodles and bits of grilled squash. It started to get better now that the ricotta didn’t disinigrate, but I just refused to live up to my dream. I do hope you enjoy the pic from 80, but DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. But if you do, please let me know how you turned this into a success.