The Calm. The Storm. And the Cheesecake.

When dark clouds approach Brooklyn (a not uncommon occurrence these past few months), I seek refuge. I am not a thunder and lightening guy. In fact, I am downright terrified of it. At least in Las Vegas (yes, born and raised in Sin City) I had the comfort of family to surround me during the desert storms.

During the Brooklyn “weather” I have had to turn to another family – a super well-known family – to keep me steady and occupied. Thankfully, the fictional Soprano’s make great rainy day TV (even on 2nd and 3rd viewings) and thankfully there is a Soprano’s cookbook to go along with it.

If you haven’t seen the Sopranos, go watch it now. If you haven’t heard of the Sopranos…well, then I don’t know what to tell you. The series is about many things, but in sum, it is about family…and eating.

The Sopranos Family Cookbook is (obviously) inspired by several of the fictional characters. There are recipes for mob-sized families, and simple one-offs that you can make for yourself on rainy/stormy afternoon of TV watching (yes, you will probably have leftovers).

Bobby Bacala’s ricotta cheesecake is quite good. And might explain why Bobby is pushing 250 lbs – it is extremely hard to have just one slice. It is full of citrus flavor and lighter than the average cheesecake.

My one quibble is not really a quibble, but I prefer my cheesecake to have a crust (my mom made a killer graham crusted cheesecake). Perhaps Bobby would be 450 lbs if it had a crust? Would that explain the absence? Regardless, you barely notice because it has a real depth. Use a good ricotta and cover with berries before serving. By the by, I also recommend covering the cheesecake for the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning.

Perhaps next time a storm rolls in you will join me , Tony, Carmela, Paulie, Christopher and Junior for some cheesecake.

Ricotta Cheesecake RECIPE ADAPTED FROM The Sopranos Family Cookbook


2 pounds ricotta cheese
8 large eggs
2 tsp. van. extract
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch


Preheat oven to 350.
Butter a 9 inch springform pan. Dust the pan with flour and tap out the excess.
Place pan on 12″ square of heavy duty aluminum foil.
Mold the foil tightly around the pan so that water cannot seep in.
In food processor or blender puree the ricotta until very smooth.
Pour the ricotta into large bowl.
Add eggs, vanilla, and zests and whisk until well blended.
Stir together the sugar and cornstarch.
Add ricotta to mixture and stir until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Place the pan in a large roasting pan and place in on the middle rack of the oven.
Carefully pour hot water to come to a depth of 1 ” into the roasting pan.
Bake for 1.5 hours or until the top of cheesecake is golden brown and a kife inserted 2″ from the center of cake comes out clean.
Turn off the oven and prop the door open with a wooden spoon.
Let the cheesecake cook for 30 minutes in turned off oven.
Remove the cake from the roasting pan and remove foil wrapping. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
Serve at room temp or slightly chilled. Wrap leftover tightly and store in the refridge.