I could not believe how easy it is to make your own ricotta cheese. I’ve been meaning to try it ever since I made cottage cheese awhile back and now I am wondering why I waited so long. This recipe is so easy, it practically makes itself.
And the results are tasty, too. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this cheese beats high-quality ricotta, but it’s definitely better than the stuff you can easily get in the store. This recipe is especially valuable to me because many times an Italian recipe will call for ricotta cheese, but many grocery stores only carry the skim-milk kind, which frankly, just doesn’t cut it.
To make this recipe, the only special thing you need is cheese cloth, an inexpensive item you can get at any grocery store. Otherwise, it uses basic kitchen supplies.
As for the milk and cream, the one thing to avoid is the phrase “ultra-pasteurized,” which means the nice cheese-making bacteria has been cooked out of the milk and won’t yield goods cheese. Also, the nicer (i.e. local and organic) dairy you buy, the better the cheese will taste.
After making the ricotta, I stuffed it in pasta shells and cooked it with sauce made from my homegrown tomatoes. Recipe to follow tomorrow.
How To Make Ricotta Cheese:
(Yields 2-3 cups of cheese)
8 c whole milk
1 c heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs white vinegar
Pour the salt, cream, and milk into a large pot. Slowly bring up the heat until the mixture is almost boiling, at around 200 degrees. Just before it boils, turn the heat to low and add the vinegar. Stir for 2 minutes and then turn off the heat. You will already start to see the curds of cheese at this point:
Line a mesh strainer with the cheese cloth and place over a bowl to catch the whey. Pour the cheese mixture through the lined strainer and let drain for one hour.
Voila! You have made ricotta. Let cool and cook as normal. Enjoy!