Making ricotta at home is really cool. It is incredibly simple and the result is luxuriously, richly delicious. Recipes for making ricotta are readily available pretty much everywhere it seems. I tried one recipe last summer - it was fine but not exciting enough to replace the ease of buying a tub at the store whenever ricotta was what I wanted. Then a bit ago I bookmarked a recipe on Food52 that I finally made on Sunday last. I will never buy ricotta again. It was amazing! and fun - because it was amazing.
The icing on this little cake is:
one tub (2 cups) of ricotta - 6.79 CAN
- or -
cream, buttermilk, and whole milk (enough to make 4 cups ricotta) - 7.23 CAN
In other words - I can make twice as much ricotta for almost half the price and it tastes 100% better. Plus, I had the fun and satisfaction of making it. Absolute win/win!
There are a surprising number of recipes and techniques on offer, all to the same end - ricotta from your own kitchen. I can't comment on any other than the two I tried. The first I won't identify but will repeat that it was not quite what I had hoped for. The second (this one) is so simple and yields the most perfect, moist, rich ricotta that I can't see any reason to try any more. I used the whole batch, less a couple of smears that I really had to taste, in some rustic lasagna. Wonderful. Next batch is just for toast and honey.... or maybe baguettes and tomatoes...or, hmmmmmmm.
rich homemade ricotta
(from Food 52)
makes 2 cups
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Put all four ingredients into a 4 quart pot and bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat. (There was no mention of stirring, so I didn't and everything worked out well.) When little specks of white bob to the surface (that's the curds separating from the whey), stir gently once and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Cook for 2 more minutes, remove from heat and let sit unbothered on an unlit burner for at least 30 minutes and as much as 60 minutes. This helps the curds to further develop.
Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine mesh strainer with a couple of layers of cheesecloth and place it over a deep bowl or pot.
After the resting time is up, gently ladle the curds into the lined strainer. Ladling, as opposed to pouring, helps produce a fluffier, creamier curd. Let sit for roughly 10 minutes to drain to produce a very moist ricotta. If you want a drier consistency (I did - it was still lovely and moist), simply let it drain longer.
Can be stored in a tightly covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If it lasts that long or makes it that far.
Note: if you have not yet discovered the Food52 blog you probably want to. Lots of fun there.