Ricotta makes my knees go weak. It’s really that simple.
As a kid my mom would let us choose what we wanted for dinner on our birthday. For years, without fail, my dinner of choice was cheese raviolis. I was a picky kid, perhaps the pickiest, but there was something about ricotta that I simply could not get enough of. To this day it’s one of my favorite foods.
When I found out it’s one of the simplest foods to make from scratch… I just about keeled over in disbelief. But it’s true. Oh, sweet Jesus, is it true. There’s truly no reason not to make it yourself. The ingredients are inexpensive and the result is fresh, creamy, cloud like deliciousness.
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream (optional)
- a pinch of salt
- fresh lemon juice
- Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth. A clean dish towel will also work, but can impart a soapy flavor if washed in scented detergent. I’m a hypoallergenic kind of gal, so we use one towel strictly for cheese and rinse it thoroughly before straining the milk curds.
- Bring the milk, cream, and salt just to a boil over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent the milk from burning on the bottom of the pan.
- Turn the heat to low and add the juice of one lemon.
- Stir constantly until the curds separate from the whey, about 2 minutes.
- Once fully separate, turn the heat off and strain into the lined colander.
- Allow to sit for 1 hour until fully drained.
- Transfer to a bowl and mix in any additions. For this post, I used lemon zest and fresh thyme.
- Add some olive oil (optional), serve with a good crusty bread (also optional), and try to save some room for dinner. Can’t lie… this has been my dinner on more than one occasion. It really is that good.
- Steep fresh hops in the milk & cream overnight. Proceed with the recipe, but after the mixture comes to a boil, strain the milk & cream into another pan before adding the acid.
- In step 6, allow to strain until most of the moisture is gone. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 2-3 tbs. pale ale, in addition to the lemon zest and thyme (latter two ingredients still optional). The cheese will be more spreadable and just as, if not more, delicious.