I’ve been making cheese for just a few years now, mostly playing with cheese that works with pasteurized, non-homogenized milk. This is the type we find in glass bottles at Whole Foods, or from our local dairy, South Mountain Creamery. South Mountain delivers milk (as well as meat, eggs and cheese) and is a terrific choice for many households.
Because I like to make fresh cheese, I convert South Mountain’s whole, cream top and even skim milk into cheeses, and make a lot of the butter we consume from their cream.
But I’m getting spoiled. I’ve got a dairy godmother — I can’t reveal her identity because of ludicrous raw milk laws, DG occasionally leaves me a gift of dairy products from her lovely, well raised sheep, goats and cows. Sometimes it is raw milk for my own cheese adventures, other times it is her lovely cheesemaking products.
A few days back, DG gave me one pound of sensational dry ricotta. It was so milk-sweet and rich and had the best texture. I mixed it with 12 ounces of chopped, blanched spinach (stashed in the freezer last fall, during spinach season). I stirred in two big duck eggs, a boatload of grated pecorino and Parmigiano, big pinches of salt, pepper and nutmeg.
For the sauce, I cooked up three jars of roasted tomato sauce with a Parmigiano rind for a few minutes before pouring over the stuffed shells.
Make sure to cover the surface with parchment paper, then cover the entire baking dish with foil. Bake for 40 minutes at 350°F, remove the foil and parchment and bake another 10 minutes, until bubbling.
When I make any dish that is baked – lasagne, chicken pot pie, mac & cheese – I portion it into small gratins that will feed one generously. Ready-to-bake homemade frozen dinners.