Homemade Ricotta

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One of the many bad habits I picked up in college was the late night food run on Saturday night after the requisite dance party at Toad's. For the most part, those nights are a bit hazy, but they typically involved a stop at Yorkside Pizza for a slice of pizza or a calzone. I quickly decided that I didn't like the ricotta cheese in the calzone and always ordered calzones without it... and I haven't had it since.  But then GP and Ina Garten proclaimed it to be awesome and oh-so-easy to make.. and Ali confirmed that it was, in fact, incredibly tasty.... and the final straw was seeing yet another recipe for homemade ricotta in this month's Bon Appétit.  Okay folks, I can take a hint. It was time to give ricotta a second chance.

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And now I have a confession. I have been eating homemade ricotta on any number of things during the past week. It comes together in a flash and it complements so many foods! I first had it with garden-picked tomatoes from my parents... then on extra plums I didn't use the Plum Crumble... and finally I had to bake it into something so that I would stop myself from taking spoonfuls of it from the refrigerator! If you enjoy fresh mozzarella or burrata, you will love this. You will also be amazed at just how simple it is to make... and I find there is something so rewarding when you make something yourself that it just seems you shouldn't be able to make (I felt this way about making crème fraiche, too). Please make this! And please don't feel guilty if you can't resist the urge to eat a spoonful of the end product... it is that good!

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You can see the ricotta forming on the edges of the strainer in this photo - yum!

Homemade Ricotta

from the GOOP newsletter with Ina Garten & Gwenyth Paltrow 

Yield = approximately 2 cups 

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

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 a 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.

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