I love Ricotta Cheese. No joke. I will eat it straight out of the container. I will shamelessly lick the bowl when it’s farm fresh at a classy restaurant. I put way too much in my baked ziti, and I love it in my baked goods.
So, when a friend of mine sent me a recipe she tried from the New York TImes, I had do this.
Now, the kinda sorta. Ricotta means recooked (according to Wikipedia). Ricotta cheese is generally made from the whey that results from the production of other cheeses. The real difference between Ricotta cheese and other more traditional cheeses is that Ricotta is made from the coagulation of other milk proteins whereas regular cheeses are made from the coagulation of casein. So, technically since this cheese is not made from leftover whey, it’s not really ricotta. But, seriously….close enough.
Ricotta Cheese from Melissa Clark of the New York Times
1 quart whole milk
0.5 cups heavy cream
0.25 cup plain whole yogurt
1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
0.5 teaspoon kosher salt
Go forth and:
Line a large colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth
Put all the ingredients into a large pot and whisk until smooth. I personally did not want to put a metal whisk to the non-stick of my pot, so I whisked everything in a bowl and transferred it to the pot.
Put the pot on medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until it starts to curdle. Now, I had no idea what this was supposed to look like. So I cooked it until my spoon looked like there were curdled bits forming. The longer you cook it the drier the end ricotta will be.
Pour the mixture into the colander and let drain until it looks like the desired ricotta. About 5 – 15 minutes. I left mine for longer than that.
Transfer into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Now, some notes.
I forgot the salt. Don’t forget the salt. It isn’t terrible without it, but it is noticeably missing.
I should have let it cook longer. The ricotta I ended up was way more moist than I would have liked. It thickened up a bit after I had in the fridge. It wasn’t total liquid, but it was definitely mushier in texture.
I put a nice big dollop on my dinner to test it out. I chopped up a slice of bacon and threw it into my cold wok. I put the wok over medium meat and cooked the bacon and half a chopped shallot until the bacon was crisping and the shallot was translucent. Then into the mixture I put in some chopped garlic, then some chopped kale and used some of the leftover whey from the ricotta cheese to deglaze the wok a bit. Once the kale was just about cooked through, I threw in some chopped up leftover chicken I had and a handful of raisins. This mixture was tossed with some whole grain angel hair pasta and a drizzle of olive oil. On top, I put a big old dollop of this ricotta before digging in.
It was delicious. The ricotta was creamy and went very well with the pasta.
I also tried a dollop over some cinnamon raisin bagel chips. That was awesome too.
The yield is maybe a cup-cup and a half. So not that much. There is a lot of whey also, which I saved. I just have to figure out what I want to do with it now!