Whey to go

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - FOOD - PHILIP JOHN­SON mail @ ec­co­bistro.com

The beauty of ri­cotta is that, although mild in taste, it can take on and en­hance the flavour of both sweet and savoury dishes. Like so many foods in­tro­duced to Australia by im­mi­grants, ri­cotta – an Ital­ian cheese made from whey – was ini­tially mis­un­der­stood and con­sid­ered strange. We now en­joy it at break­fast, in sal­ads, served with meat dishes and in many fab­u­lous desserts.

1 Pre­heat oven to 180°C. Brush lamb rumps with olive oil and sea­son with salt and pep­per. Heat large, heavy­based fry­pan on high. Seal lamb on both sides un­til well coloured. Trans­fer to bak­ing tray and cook in oven for 10-12 min­utes. Rest for 5 min­utes be­fore slic­ing. 2 Heat fry­pan on medium. Sauté potato slices in but­ter un­til golden, turn­ing to colour both sides. 3 Boil beans in salted wa­ter for 1½ min­utes or un­til ten­der. Drain and toss through sautéed pota­toes with ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil. Sea­son lightly with salt and pep­per. 4 To serve, place pota­toes on plates, scat­ter over fresh ri­cotta and place 2-3 cherry toma­toes to one side. Slice lamb, ar­range over salad and driz­zle warm jus on top.  Wine match: 2013 Le­con­field Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon ($34)

1 Ri­cotta dumplings need to be made at least 24 hours be­fore serv­ing. To make, place ri­cotta in large bowl and beat with fork to break down. Add parme­san, nut­meg and a lit­tle salt and pep­per. Place half the semolina in a bowl and re­main­der in sep­a­rate, deep-sided tray. 2 Roll ri­cotta mix into balls, ap­prox. half the size of golf balls. Place in bowl of semolina, toss to coat, then care­fully place in semolina tray, press­ing dumplings into bed of semolina to come half­way up the sides. Con­tinue with re­main­ing ri­cotta, then trans­fer to fridge un­cov­ered. Leave to dry and firm overnight. 3 For crab, heat a lit­tle ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil in large fry­pan. Sauté gar­lic and chilli flakes for 1-2 min­utes un­til gar­lic has soft­ened. Add crab, salt and black pep­per; stir un­til crab meat is warmed through. Re­move from heat and quickly toss in chopped basil and lemon juice. 4 Mean­while, bring large pot of lightly salted wa­ter to boil. Gen­tly lift out dumplings and shake off ex­cess. Drop dumplings into wa­ter and sim­mer for 2-3 min­utes. Drain and sea­son lightly. Ar­range 5 dumplings in serv­ing bowls, then spoon over crab mix­ture. Fin­ish with ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil and a grind of black pep­per.  Wine match: 2013 Craggy Range Te Muna Four ($42)

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