Friday, 10 June 2011

Cottage cheese–a retro pleasure

Frankly, the whole cottage cheese issue is a bit like Marmite. So, if you’re in the camp that goes ‘yack’ at the mere mention, turn away now. Or be brave, stick around and try it again.

I quite often whisk extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and sometimes a little garlic and herbs into yoghurt to make an impromptu sauce for chicken or lamb. It’s particularly good in BBQ surroundings. I also do something similar to ricotta if I have it in, spooning it over pasta for a quick dinner. I had bought some cottage cheese a little while ago for MCD Jr, thinking to spread it on toast for lunch and so on. However, it was a big tub and going nowhere fast, so I had to come up with something like this.

Spoon some cottage cheese into a bowl and whisk in the e-v olive oil – perhaps a couple of tbsp. Season and then stir in a few fragrant fresh herbs. I happen to have a particularly pungent oregano growing outside the back door so in it went, but basil, parsley, even mint would work well, although in the latter case I would bring out the cheese’s sour notes with a squeeze of lemon.

I cooked an over-generous portion of pasta – trottoli actually, those tight, fat spirals – and tossed with some tomatoes I had diced and left to macerate in good oil, garlic, seasoning and a squeeze of lemon. You may like to add a few chilli flakes. Stir the pasta and tomatoes together in the warm saucepan, spoon into a bowl and top with the cold cheese mixture.

The concept works well enough for breakfast too, with the tomatoes laden on toasted sourdough and topped with the cheese; something I often have with a pot of good coffee.

It’s a budget supper, to be honest, but it’s also a good alternative if ricotta or yoghurt proves elusive; everywhere sells cottage cheese, and if you can overcome any textural difficulties – and I understand that point of view – it’s a bonus in the fridge.

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