Sicily is not just “special”, but possibly the most beautiful place on Earth. If you’ve been there you’d probably agree. If you haven’t now’s the time to book your ticket.
At a recent Christmas party in Rancho Santa Fe, I had just this conversation with a couple of other italophiles. Friends’ family Christmas parties are sometimes difficult to maneuver. It’s their families and friends of their family. A good host or hostess will usually introduce you and with a line that goes something like this: “This is my friend Jo, he went to school with me or he works in consulting…” For some reason a lot of people like to introduce me with, “ This is my friend Julie, she just moved back from Italy.” It’s actually a great way to be introduced as most Americans love Italy and/or have some family connections with the country, meaning great conversation commences.
At this particular Holiday party I had four separate conversations about my Italian life. After all this dredging up Italian memories, it makes sense that I would be feeling a tad nostalgic for the great boot.
In my nostalgia I purchased ricotta from Whole Foods with no plans of what to do with it. Shopping with out plans as most of you know is a terrible idea, and for the most part should not be done, however it does sometimes make our meals more interesting.
Anyways, after seeing it every time I opened my fridge, I decided it was time I do something with it. Post-dinner my sweet tooth took over and I went for the ricotta.
Everyone knows that the best Sicilian sweet is the cannoli, and the best part of the cannoli is the sweet fluffy ricotta filling. In fact when I lived in Sicily sometimes that would be the only part of the cannoli I would eat.
The health problem I have with cannoli filling is that it is all sugar and fat and none of those good sugars or good fats, so when I reached for the ricotta it wasn’t to make real cannoli cream, but rather a ricotta chia seed pudding. With the consistency of rice pudding,the tang of the ricotta, and the omega-3s courtesy of the chia seeds, the dessert certainly satisfied my sweet tooth.
1 cup ricotta (I use whole milk)
1/4 cup cashew or real milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
3 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla or cinnamon or both
Mix all ingredients until smooth in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve topped with berries or fruit of your choice.