Sunday, August 28, 2011

Homemade Ricotta

This summer I've spent a lot of time testing a lot of recipes and making condiments, everyday items we usually purchase from the grocery store as a convenience item to see how different these items taste when made from scratch. Making items from scratch enables you to control the ingredients, therefore reducing the amount of sodium, unnecessary additives and preservatives that change the flavor profile of food.

To my surprise, ricotta, which is an item that I never really liked in lasagna, ravioli, etc because of the texture and bland flavor was one of the more fabulous tasting items I tested. Ricotta of course can be made savory or sweet by adding your own flavors. One way I used it was as a breakfast item and I grilled some juicy white nectarines, added some toasted slivered almonds, fresh mint and a drizzle of organic raw honey. This was so wonderful and would be a great dessert for any dinner party.

Making ricotta from home is so easy and only requires a few minutes of your time. Time well spent. I had to laugh because I sent a message to my sister who loves to cook thinking she would give this a whirl and she shot me a message back saying, "sounds like a lot of work girl!" Work? This is so easy and the taste is so spectacular that I will never purchase ricotta in a tub again! Neither will you if you try it.

Make up a batch of this, use it as I suggested with grilled peaches or nectarines. Have your friends over and have a ricotta bar party, with grilled flat bread, savory toppings such oven roasted tomatoes, fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil, or sweet toppings; honey, fruits or whatever your heart desires. It's fun and fabulous.

Homemade Ricotta

1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk, Full Fat
3 Cups Milk, Whole
1 Cup Heavy Cream

Bring all ingredients to a gentle simmer over medium heat. While it is simmering the milk solids will start to form. This only takes a few minutes. Once this happens, remove from heat and let sit for about 25 minutes to cool down.

Get out a large bowl and lay a strainer over it lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. Gently pour the milk over the strainer allowing the cheesecloth to catch the solids. Then take the edges of the cheesecloth and cover the milk solids and put in the refrigerator over night. You will want to drain the liquid and keep a pan underneath to catch the remaining liquid as it drains overnight. This process will allow the ricotta to firm up.

Use ricotta as desired. This will last approximately 4-5 days in the refrigerator covered in an air tight container.


Honey Ricotta

1 Large Vanilla Bean, Scraped
1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
2 Cups Homemade Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Raw Organic Honey
Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Adding a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Serve with grilled nectarines, toasted sliced almonds, fresh mint and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil - good quality of course!

I hope you try will be so glad you did.

No comments: