After I got angry for no good reason this morning, except that there are not enough hours in a day to get everything done, I slammed the dishes into the dishwasher, threw the clothes into the drawers half folded, and had some left over birthday cake. I thought two things: 1. God bless sugar 2. Ricotta cheesecake could be excellent as dinner.
Make a little pesto with your mortar and pestle (or food processor) by combining about a cup of fresh basil leaves, one garlic clove, a half teaspoon of salt, a grind of pepper, and a steady stream of maybe 4 Tablespoons of olive oil. If you think it makes no difference to grind something up in a food processor, and to smash it in your mortar, think of a kiss. Think of kissing someone that makes it ever so slightly difficult to breathe, because your heart is beating in your head and one brush of their elbow against your arm makes every hair on both arms stand up. Now think of kissing an empty envelope. Flying metal in a plastic bowl against a leaf is one thing. Stone against stone with the leaf in between, and the smooth and steady rhythm of your hand to make the whole thing happen, is another thing.
Taste to make it delicious. Make a crust with one cup of flour, a pinch of salt, and two Tablespoons of sugar. Press it into the bottom of a nine inch cheesecake pan. Bake at 425 degrees for about ten minutes, or until slightly golden.
Beat 6 egg yolks with 1 pound of fresh ricotta cheese, a quarter cup of grated parmesan, and half a teaspoon of fresh lemon zest. (no pith) In a separate, clean bowl, with clean and dry beaters, beat 6 egg whites with about a quarter teaspoon of salt. Don’t overbeat; just until there are soft peaks. Combine the two. Spread the pesto over the crust, and then pour the ricotta over. Bake at 350 degrees until it is just set in the middle, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Serve with roasted zucchini, roasted peppers, and roasted eggplant.