I will never buy ricotta cheese in a grocery store again.
A few months ago, my book club friend, Peggy (who is a homemaking guru) talked about making her own ricotta cheese for a party appetizer. I was intrigued. She made it sound so easy that I had to try it. Isn’t it easier just to buy ricotta in a plastic tub in the grocery store? Sure, that’s easy, but this is too–and the results were delicious! You know how store-bought ricotta is a little bit rubbery? Well, this isn’t. And, it was pretty amazing to see how it all comes together so quickly.
I used Ina Garten’s simple recipe:
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Over medium heat, bring the milk, cream and salt to a full boil, stirring occasionally. While you are doing this, set a large sieve over a deep bowl and line the sieve with two layers of dampened cheesecloth. Once the mixture is boiling, turn off the heat, stir in the vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes.
Ina says to let it sit for 1 minute, but several reviewers recommended 10 minutes. I let mine sit for 10 minutes. It is fun to watch the quick separation of the curds and whey–it looked a little bit like runny cottage cheese at this point.
Next, pour the almost-ricotta into the sieve. I don’t have a super-deep bowl, so I had to pour out the whey from my bowl right away. Once I poured out the initial whey, I only had to empty out my bowl once more. Let the ricotta sit on the counter and drain for about 25 minutes. The longer you let it sit, the thicker it gets. Mine was perfectly spreadable and completely delicious in this time.
We spread the ricotta on a toasted baguette and topped it with fresh tomato jam and grey sea salt…it was the perfect appetizer!
***This post is a first in a series of Homemaker’s Challenges: activities that get me (and hopefully you, too!) out of the everyday routine of cooking, cleaning and laundry and into a routine of trying something new and experimental. I’d love it if you’d play along!