My love for Italian food is far and wide, and fresh ricotta is a staple of Italian cooking. It’s used in everything from ravioli and stuffed shells to lasagna, and dessert dishes too. This was my first foray into cheesemaking, and it was surprisingly simple! It used only four ingredients: milk, cream, vinegar and salt. Although, you will need a thermometer and cheesecloth. In the coming weeks, I’m going to focus on making a few dishes, inspired by my travels in various countries, including Italy. So, I decided to get a leg up on making ricotta so my handmade spinach-ricotta ravioli or ricotta gnocci will be that much fresher!
Serves: 2 cups
- 8 cups pasteurized whole milk (1/2 gallon)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.
- Place the milk, cream and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat until a thermometer reads between 175 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the saucepan from the stove. Slowly pour in the vinegar while gently stirring.
- Once all of the vinegar has been poured in, allow it to sit undisturbed for 20 minutes.
- Carefully ladle the soft curds that have formed at the top into the strainer. The remaining liquid (whey) can be discarded.
- Allow the curds to drain for one hour. (Do not press on the curds or manipulate them in any way).
- Once drained, transfer the ricotta cheese to a container and refrigerate until use. Discard the whey (the liquid).
- The ricotta may be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
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