As I’ve mentioned to a handful of friends & family while growing this baby, I’m not so much having cravings as I am highly susceptible to the power of sense/suggestion. Sights, smells, even some sounds will suddenly implant in my brain the image of a ham & cheese croissant, a steaming bowl of something curried,
a whole sleeve of Oreos, fast food… you get the picture.
So I could do nothing but bow to my instincts when, last week during a sort-of-late-for-me (8pm?) Pinterest browsing session resulted in the repinning of not one, not two, but three images of Something That Looked Like Really Good Hummus. So smooth… so tasty… I needed to make some NOW: so immediately that there was no time to look at the actual recipes that I pinned. I knew how to make hummus anyway (although Danny is the master): chickpeas – peeled or not, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, and, if you’re in Chicago, a dollop of giardiniera if you like.
But literally in the time it took to get from my couch to my kitchen (that’s 5 seconds if you’re playing at home), it occurred to me that I could do something to make this hummus as smooth, creamy, and whippy as the spreads I had seen just moments before without much, if any, additional effort or new technique.
You see, I am having sort of a cheese moment right now. Within reason, I’m allowing my food inclinations to take me wherever they please, and these days it is all about that dairy. This trimester, now that I’m past my “kid food diet,” I’ve had regular strokes of genius when it comes to grilled cheese, scrambled eggs with ricotta, morning yogurt with all manner of breakfasty toppings, and any and all pizza incarnations. Some of the greatest ideas of my cooking life have hit me in the last few months. Maybe necessity really is the mother of invention.
So if you’re a hummus purist, or from a land where it is treason not to be a hummus purist, maybe you stop reading right here. I am giving you fair warning, because if you are wearing pearls, you will clutch them shortly.
My new favorite thing to include in hummus to give it that whippy, creamy, smooth texture… is ricotta.
BLASPHEMY! UNBELIEVABLE! UNORTHODOX! All of those are true. But I’m a) not a hummus purist, b) resourceful, c) stubborn and I want what I want, and d) pregnant, dammit.
I can see a lot of possibilities for the future of this variation: adding more lemon, adding fresh parsley and/or fresh mint, using the mixture to dollop into soup or as a sandwich filling. (Not that you can’t do that with regular hummus, but believe me when I tell you that this smoothness will take it to a new level. Unless you are a professional hummus maker and know how to make it crazy-smooth on your own. In which case you share that with us down below, please!)
- 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
- 1 clove garlic (you can do more, but these days, raw garlic gives me a bit of a headache)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/8 cup olive oil, or to taste
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- salt & pepper
- additional olive oil, sumac, smoked paprika for garnish (if desired)
Peel the garbanzo beans if you like. I started to peel them on this last batch and my lower back started to hurt, so I quit and sat down for a bit. (Growing a baby = new body mechanics.) Danny saw the unfinished business and offered to help, but I let him off the hook before he had gotten to every bean. The lesson here is: peel them if you feel like it and have the time – you will get a smoother hummus. But if not, don’t cry: the reason you’re making this is to cheat and make it smooth using other means.
Put the beans and the garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse those down until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Then add the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and ricotta. Process until it’s super smooth. Taste a bit and add salt & pepper as you like it. Whiz it up one more time, and you’re done.
I have a huge bag of sumac that is, of course, super delicious in/on this, so I like to add that and a bit more olive oil on the top. This last time I also added a little smoked paprika, and it was a very good decision.