Whipped Bellwether Ricotta, Farro, Arugula, Pistachios, Mint & Lemon

Chef Liza Hinman, The Spinster Sisters
Serves 6

2 bunches      asparagus (larger stalks for shaving)
1 lb tub          high quality ricotta (Bellweather Farms if possible)
¼ cup           farro
½ cup           shelled pistachios
2 cup            arugula (wild if available)
2 Tbsp           lemon zest
3 Tbsp           finely chopped herbs (chives, mint, parsley)
3 Tbsp           lemon juice
½ cup           extra virgin olive oil
                    kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
6-12               Nasturtium blossoms (optional garnish)

Tools: cheesecloth, strainer, mixer or bowl and whisk, Japanese mandolin

Do Ahead:

Cook the farro in lightly salted boiling water until al dente.  Strain and cool on a tray.

Toast the pistachios in the oven at 350° for 5 minutes, just a slight hint of color.  Cool and then roughly chop.

Remove ricotta from tub and place into cheesecloth. Tie into a bundle, place in strainer set over a bowl, and press lightly with a plate and a can for at least 2 hours, but possibly overnight depending on your ricotta.

Day of:
Chop your herbs and hold aside.

Transfer the drained ricotta to a mixing bowl and whip with a whisk by hand for 3 minutes (or with a mixer on high for 1 minute.)   Slowly drizzle in 3 Tbsp olive oil and whisk for a minute longer.  Stop and add ½ tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp black pepper, 1 ½ Tbsp chopped herbs and ½ Tbsp lemon zest. Whisk just until evenly incorporated.  Hold the mixture in the fridge.

Place the farro into a bowl and toss with 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 tsp lemon juice and 1 Tbsp olive oil and hold.

Rinse the asparagus and remove the woody bottoms.  Do a couple test strips with your mandolin to get the right width (not see through, but not so thick it’s stiff), and then carefully shave the two bunches into a large bowl.

When you are ready to eat, sprinkle 1 tsp of salt over the asparagus and lightly toss.  Let sit for a few minutes in the fridge while you make the pistachio dressing.

Place the chopped pistachios into a small bowl, add the remaining chopped herbs, lemon zest, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and 4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Season with salt and mix together.

Add the arugula and 2 Tbsp of the pistachio dressing to the bowl to the asparagus and toss lightly.

Take 6 individual plates and place a heaping tablespoon of the ricotta on each one.  Spread out gently, and then cover with even piles of the asparagus and arugula.  Sprinkle 2 Tbsp farro over each salad. Plop 2-3 smaller spoons of the ricotta next to and over the salad, and then drizzle each plate with the remaining pistachio dressing.

Garnish with nasturtium blossoms if you have any. Serve immediately.

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