I found this post by Salt & Fat on The Wonders of Fresh Ricotta last week and was immediately excited. I had no idea it was this easy and inexpensive to make ricotta at home and the out come was wonderfully billowy, soft, subtle delicious cheese.
1 quart whole milk
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice (about half a lemon, make sure to pick out the seeds)
The first thing you want to do is line a colander with some cheesecloth then put the colander over a bowl — this is good preparation and important because things happen quickly once you start. Now, bring the whole milk, cream and salt to a full boil on about medium high and make sure to stir regularly with a spatula to keep the milk from scorching.
Once it’s boiling, add the lemon juice and give the mixture a quick stir to incorporate the juice then turn the heat down to medium to maintain a simmer. Stir gently for another two minutes, you’ll see the mixture start to separate into solid milk curds and liquid whey.
*I actually let it sit with the heat off for about 10-15 mins before moving on to the next step
After it looks like everything has separated, pour the mixture into your cheesecloth lined colander. You can let it drain like this for an hour or so, I like to tie the cheesecloth up and hang it over my sink to let gravity help extract any lingering whey.
Oh no, we didn’t stop there. What’s a better vessel for fresh ricotta than wrapped in homemade pasta! I’ve always wanted to make homemade pasta because it sounded so simple. 3 ingredients and a lot of back work (unless you’re lucky enough to have a machine) and it truly is better than anything you can buy at the store. It’s also fascinating to me that I had all the ingredients at home to make this so it doesn’t get cheaper than that.
I used 3 1/3 cups of flour, 4 eggs and a pinch of salt. We took turns kneading it and added about 1/8 of a cup of water to help it along in the process. We kneaded it for about 15 mins until that dough was beggin us to stop.
A lot of rolling, rolling, rolling on the river. You want to get it as thin as possible.
And that’s it! We stuffed it with our fresh ricotta, sealed the edges with some melted butter and dropped them in boiling water (3 at a time) for about 3 mins (they float when they are done).
Oh.. and.. Molly taught me about garlic at our last food shoot, the purple means it’s really good. That’s a lot of purple on this garlic so I had to take a picture.
We made a simple meat sauce and served it with some crusty bread and I was stuffed!
I had about 1/2 the dough left over so the next night we rolled it out again this time cutting it into strips and serving it with some toasted pine nuts and fish with a white wine, lemon, butter sauce and some fresh arugula on top… This is making me hungry.