Sorry I haven’t posted for a while, my laptop died and took with it several draft postings. I’m still getting my new laptop setup and have to recreate a lot of my work.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
I remember growing up that a few times my dad tried to make homemade cheese. It was a fascinating process, but I honestly don’t recall if any of them ever turned out. I’ll have to ask him about that. Anyway, I was reminded of this when I came across another food blogger’s post about making homemade ricotta cheese. Bingo! This was just the thing I needed to make my ravioli a little extra special and redeem myself for not making my own fresh pasta sheets (I'm a big fan of wonton wrappers!)
This is ridiculously easy! If you can boil water, you can make ricotta. The only special equipment you need is cheese cloth, go figure. Mine came out very creamy, more like a cross between ricotta and cream cheese. I’m going to experiment with a little more stirring next time to encourage larger curds to form. I’m also wondering about if it’s possible to make goat’s milk ricotta?
I mixed half of my homemade ricotta with a little more cream and a little lemon zest and used it as filling for ravioli on Christmas Eve. See the final product, ravioli in brown butter and fried sage, at the bottom of the page. The cheese was deliciously rich and the lemon zest added brightness to the flavor.
1 quart whole milk – $1.69
1 8oz carton heavy cream – $1.99
1 lemon – $0.70
Total – 4.38
The Recipe (from Gourmet, April ’06):
1 quart whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
Juice from ½ lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1. Combine the milk, cream, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Separately, line a colander with cheesecloth and set it in a large bowl. Measure out the lemon juice and set it aside.
2. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring occasionally with a spatula to prevent scalding. Once the mixture has reached a steady simmer, add the lemon juice and stir gently with the spatula — quickly, just to blend. Let the mixture sit for about 1 minute, turning down the heat slightly so it stays at a simmer but doesn’t reach a hard, rolling boil. Stir with the spatula after about 1 minute, then let it sit another minute or two until it looks like most of the liquid has separated into curds and whey. (See note below.)
3. Drain the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined colander set over a bowl, and let it drain at room temperature for 1 hour. Transfer the ricotta to an airtight container and refrigerate.
Makes about 1 cup.
Note: My curds and whey seemed to take a bit longer to separate, so I added another couple tablespoons of lemon use. It worked out fine, and did not affect the flavor. I’ll try a little more patience next time.