Homemade Ricotta

February 18, 2014

 

With four kids under 8 (but mostly just having 1 under 1), having a skiing family, and other fun writing projects I am excited to share in the not-so distant future, I have had very little time to explore in my kitchen.  But my inner foodie is still lurking there, waiting to have more than .5 hours to make something.

Lucky for me Homemade Ricotta only takes 20 minutes. That’s right. 20 minutes.

I have wanted to make my own cheese ever since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. So when my recipe group gathered on a weekend when we were actually home, I sat back and daydreamed/googled what I wanted to make. Ina Garten’s Homemade Ricotta grabbed me because it was something I had never tried before and I was super curious. Plus she served hers with fresh herbs and a drizzle of salt, pepper and olive oil, which could make anything taste delicious.

To be honest, I had a back up dish ready, so unsure was I about my ability to produce ricotta at home.

But I followed her steps and used all 4 ingredients (whole milk, cream, salt and vinegar), lined a strainer with cheese cloth, then drained away.

The result was amazing!

Like an eyes-wide-open, was blind but now I see revelation that anything, especially plain old ricotta, could taste SO good. The grilled sourdough bread made it, I can still taste the combo of the creamy, fresh goodness (hi, you were born in my kitchen a half hour ago, dairy product), mixed with the brightness of the herbs and the smoky, warm toasty crunch of the sourdough bread.  Many people commented (and I agreed) I could eat the whole tray.

I am already dreaming about my next batch…I hope you give it a try just so you can know its goodness. Isn’t that what food love is all about?

Ingredients

4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar

Herbs to add: chopped dill, scallions, chives or any combination of your favorite flavors, equal to 4-6 T.
Directions

Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.

Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).

Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I tend to like mine on the thicker side, but some prefer it moister.) Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

Add herbs, put onto grilled sourdough bread, and serve.

 

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