Lots of recipes scroll by on our Facebook time line (Ani is a passive user), but few are actually implemented in our kitchen. Once in a while, who knows why, a recipe clamors for action and the time is right to give it the old college try (bob is a college guy, remember?). In all our years of cheesecake fascination, we were never before motivated to try an Italian ricotta cheesecake, but the combination of arborio rice and milk as a prestep piqued bob's interest, having often lusted after rice pudding recipes using arborio rice (because of the Italian connection) and tried a few over the years without really being blown away by any of them. And Easter family dinner not at our home came with a bring-along dessert request. Perfect timing for this experiment.
However, a reposting of the recipe (nonna's torta di ricotta e riso, sounds authentic to me) led to some blow back from our Italian food police claiming widespread knowledge of Italian food based on his certification as an expert in late nineteenth century Neopolitan aristocratic cuisine. No way is this a traditional Italian recipe he retorts. So we try to acertain the credentials of the blog/website/facebook page author without much success, so wait for a Messenger reply to our plea for justification in believing in their recipe. No reply arrives.
Meanwhile the recipe calls for 6 cups of ricotta, but it is sold by the pound, and rather than make a 50 minute round trip to the opposite side of the Main Line for fresh ricotta at Carlino's we discover that Di Bruno Brothers have finally opened their new big store opposite the Wayne Farmer's Market, so we make our initial reconnaisance mission into the bustling Good Friday crowd to discover some pretty expensive fresh ricotta and some Soom tahini that was also on our wish list (Sweet Chocolate and Premium normal). So the question is, are the two 1.5 lb containers of ricotta equivalent to 6 cups? We measure it out carefully and indeed each container is 3 cups. 22 bucks worth (Di Bruno Brothers is well suited to Main Line Affluence, and we are part of it).
So we give it a go. Carelessly bob does not carefully read the recipe while executing it which calls for adding the sugar at the end of the rice pudding stage before cooling, but it doesn't seem to matter. Waiting till the ricotta stage makes it easier to soften up the ricotta before adding in the eggs. The final mix looks exactly like soft oatmeal ready to serve for breakfast, but seems to have a nice flavor.
The recipe does not translate the abbreviation Tsp, which bob takes for Tablespoon, but could have been teaspoon. No other recipe at the website seems to have this abbreviation to compare. bob holds back on the salt with a partial teaspoon, but throws in a whole tablespoon of the cinnamon. The batch as called for fills the cheesecake pan to the brim before baking, so cutting this by 2/3 would tame the height to a more modest cheesecake level, given our tendency to flatten cheesecakes this century to right-sized portions for health reasons. For everybody's health, cheesecakes are nutrition bombs!
A coincidentally timed photo of luscious Italian strawberries posted by our very own neighborhood Casa del Cremolato on Facebook put strawberries in bob's radar for a possible topping, reminiscent of our revisited strawberry cheesecake from the Bove annual cheesecake party of 2019. Perhaps just to add with each serving.
We found this too high for our 9 inch springform pan (about 2 1/4 inch), so you can choose various ways to adjust the recipe to accomodate your needs. For example, if you to a 2 egg recipe in a 9 inch pan, the height will decrease to 2/3 of the height we found, but if you do the 2 egg recipe in a 8 inch pan, then you multiply that height by 2/3*(81/64) = 1.9 inches, while in a 9 inch pan this would be 2/3*9/4 = 3/2 = 1.5 inch. We only have 8 inch, 9 inch and 11 inch pans, so the possibilities are not endless, but you probably get the message. A 1 egg lineup in an 8 inch pan is 0.95 inch, maybe a big low. Then there is the 9 inch square pan...
|?? inch||7-9 inch||9-11 inch||springform pan|
|1 1/3 c||2 2/3 c||4 c||milk|
|1/4 c||1/2 c||3/4 c||Arborio rice|
|1 t||2 t||1 T||cinnamon|
|1/4 t||1/3 t||1/2 t||salt|
|1/3 c||2/3 c||1 c||granulated sugar|
|2 c = 1 lb||4 c = 2 lbs||6 c = 3 lbs||fresh ricotta cheese|