Heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over high heat until smoking. In a medium bowl, drizzle the broccolini with olive oil and season with salt. Toss to coat. Place the broccolini on the hot pan or griddle but do not crowd (if using a 12-inch cast iron you can do two batches) Allow to sear, undisturbed, for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes, until the edges of the florets are a deep brown and the stems are tender and bright green with charring on the edges. Turn off the heat. Return the broccolini to the bowl. Season with a couple turns of black pepper. Add the grated garlic and lemon zest and toss to coat. Season to taste.
To serve, spoon some Ricotta (recipe follows) in the center of a plate. Arrange the broccolini around the cheese, sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes, if using, flakey salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.
Yield:Makes 2 cups ricotta
Line a colander or large sieve with 1 layer of very fine cheesecloth (or 2 to 3 layers of more porous cloth) and set over a large bowl.
To make the cheese, combine the milk and salt in a non-reactive pot over medium heat. Heat the mixture, stirring occasionally until it reaches 175 degrees F, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Gently stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until chunks form and separate from the whey (this happens within 30 seconds or so). Don’t stir too often or vigorously or the curds will break. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the curds into the prepared cheesecloth-lined sieve. Allow to sit and strain for 20 minutes. Serve immediately at room temperature or transfer the ricotta cheese into an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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