All recipes copyright © 2005 Roy Finamore
Oh, this is so creamy and so good.
Truth to tell, it's not ricotta. Real ricotta is made with whey, and the best ricotta is made with the whey left from sheep's milk, the leftovers in the Pecorino process. Hence ricotta, which means "twice cooked." The milk is heated for the Pecorino, and then the whey is heated for the ricotta. But are you going to be making Pecorino? Don't think so, and this is a pretty terrific way to get to the tender curds of ricotta.
You've got options about serving this. See the box.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 quart whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 scant teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Rinse a saucepan with cold water (for easier cleanup). Have ready a strainer lined with a double layer of dampened cheesecloth and set in a bowl (deep enough so the strainer doesn't sit on the bottom of the bowl).
Pour the milk and cream into the saucepan. Add the salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
When the milk is simmering, turn off the heat and pour in the vinegar. Leave it alone for about 1 minute Stir slowly and gently. The milk will start separating into curds and whey; you are looking for the whey to become clearish, which will take about 1 minute of stirring. Pour into the strainer. Lift the strainer out of the bowl and pour out the whey. Set the strainer back in the bowl and let the cheese drain for 15 minutes. The ricotta is ready to serve now, and it will be soft and moist. You can also refrigerate it, covered, for later; it will be denser, more like cottage cheese.
Serving Homemade Ricotta
Come the cocktail hour, pile the ricotta in a bowl, drizzle it with extra virgin olive oilenough so you have a ring of oil around the cheese, and sprinkle it with coarse sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Or grains of paradise. Set it out with slices of semolina bread.
This could also be lunch. Picture this. It's summer. You've made a big green salad or you have a platter of roasted peppers with capers and anchovies. You have a great loaf of bread. You've got the ricotta in a bowl with the oil and salt and cracked pepper. You slather pieces of bread with the cheese and eat it with the salad.
Use this to make pasta with ricotta (page TK), making sure to add goat cheese since this ricotta is very sweet. It's enough for 1 pound of pasta. Or use it in a lasagne.
Ricotta can also be dessert, or a sweet breakfast. Sprinkle it with a tiny bit of sugar and some cinnamon or drizzle it with tupelo honey and just eat it with a spoon.