Homemade Ricotta Cheese
With so many fabulous cheeses made in France (where I live) I guess there’s not the need to import more from elsewhere.
But for those of us that occasionally make recipes calling for a large amount of ricotta, there aren’t any 2-pound tubs available, just tiny plastic containers in the supermarket.
You can find very good ricotta by taking a trip to an Italian épicerie, although if you need a large quantity, you’ll quickly find yourself headed for the maison des pauvres. (The Poor House.)
Making ricotta really is easy and for the price of a quart or two of milk, you can have a lovely mound of freshly-made, still-warm ricotta with very little effort.
Homemade ricotta makes a wonderful base for Italian cheesecakes, ravioli fillings, and lasagna. I like to serve a spoonful of this with sliced fresh fruit; peaches, nectarines, or berries are lovely, along with a drizzle of honey.
It also make a nice accompaniment to a stewed apricot compote, fresh or ripe figs, or poached dried fruits in the winter.
I always use whole milk yogurt, but if you do try it with low-fat yogurt, please let me know in the comments how it works out. I don't recommend non-fat yogurt for this recipe. This recipe can easily be halved or doubled.
- 2 quarts whole milk
- 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- Optional: 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
1 In a large pot, bring the milk, yogurt, heavy cream (if using), vinegar, and salt to a boil. Very gently boil for one to two minutes, until the milk is curdled.
2 Meanwhile, line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and set it over a deep bowl.
3 Pour the milk mixture into the strainer and let drain for 15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth around the curds and squeeze gently to extract any excess liquid.
Storage: Homemade ricotta is best served slightly warm, although it can be refrigerated for up to three days, if desired.