By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Staff Writer
We all love tasty treats, but as broke college students, a) we’re poor and/or can’t afford to go out to eat and b) we have no kitchen in our dorm room. Whoever allowed this contradiction to happen is some sort of sadist, but never fear! It’s time for… No Kitchen Required!
PEACHES AND RICOTTA WITH PROSCIUTTO NESTS
Peaches and ricotta are a classic Italian treat and as we’re reaching the end of peach season it’s the time to take advantage of this simple, easy nosh. The prosciutto nests counterbalance the sweetness of the peaches and honey and the creaminess of the ricotta.
The secret to this dish (along with many others) is fresh, high quality ingredients. Go on down to the Farmer’s Market today in George Sherman Union plaza and pick out a firm but juicy peach. A good way to pick a peach is with a smell and a squeeze: Pick up the peach and smell the area right by the stem. If it smells fresh and mildly sweet, then it’s most likely ripe. If the peach you’re smelling doesn’t have a scent, then it’s not ripe enough. If it smells very sweet, then it’s too ripe. To verify the ripeness of your peach, squeeze it gently. It should give a bit, but your fingers shouldn’t be able to break the skin or leave imprints in the flesh of the fruit. If you’re serving your peaches and ricotta to one other person, one peach will suffice. While you’re at the farmer’s market, try to pick out a small bottle of local honey – even if you don’t use all of your honey, it’s always nice to keep in your dorm.
Next, it’s crucial you pick up a nice ricotta. Ricotta, when it’s low-quality, ends up being very grainy and flavorless . Splurge on the good quality ricotta. Head over to the North End and visit any cheese shop there. If they make fresh ricotta in-house, pick up a smaller container. Award-winning Calabro ricotta is made in New England, it’s fairly inexpensive and it can even be found in certain Whole Foods if you want to skip the trip to the North End.
In terms of prosciutto, you can either skip this step (for the vegetarians and cost-effective folks out there) or head over to J. Pace & Son in the North End for unbelievable prosciutto. Trader Joe’s and Shaw’s also stocks tasty prosciutto, for those that want to stay within a college student’s budget.
From here, all that’s left is simple assembly. We’re going to give you a “choose-your-own-adventure”-type recipe from this point on.
Either you can keep your prosciutto raw or crisp it up in the microwave. If you prefer your prosciutto soft (and more malleable), keep the slices raw and lay pieces out like sheets. Rip the prosciutto into two separate strips and lay them crossed over one another, like a large plus sign. Otherwise, shape your prosciutto into small cups and put about three cups on one microwaveable plate. Microwave the prosciutto for 30 seconds to 1 minute until they are somewhat crispy. They might never be as crispy as you may like, but remember – this is renegade dorm kitchen pioneer cooking and sort of crispy is still better than the bacon they serve in Warren. Use a napkin to sop up any excess grease from the cups and lay the prosciutto out on a new plate. Cut the peaches into smaller slices and use a smaller spoon to dollop ricotta onto the prosciutto. Use a straw or coffee stirrer to add a drizzle of honey to your little canape cups. If your prosciutto is raw, wrap the peaches and ricotta in the parma ham, tying each of the four ends at the top. Serve immediately.