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Homemade Ricotta

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

My mom usually made ricotta instead of buying it. She would mix it with honey, and we ate it on bread for breakfast. Or she would stuff her ravioli with it. It takes only about half an hour to make. The ricotta curds are very fine, so the cheese must be strained through several layers of cheesecloth or muslin. I strain mine through the same piece of muslin my mom used. Your yield will depend on the butterfat content of the milk you use. You might want to search out extra-rich milk.

NotesI often make ricotta ravioli for the freezer. Typically, I’ll boil the ravioli straight from the freezer, then simmer them briefly in chicken broth.

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 30 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturecreamy

Type of Dishdip/spread

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 quart buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Select a sieve or colander with a wide surface area so the curds will cool quickly. Rinse a large piece of cheesecloth or muslin with cold water, then fold it so that it is 6 or more layers, and arrange it in the sieve or colander placed in the sink.

  2. Pour the milk and buttermilk into a large non-reactive saucepan. Place over high heat and heat, stirring the mixture frequently with a rubber spatula and making sure to scrape the whole pan bottom to prevent scorching. Once the mixture is warm, stop stirring. As the milk heats, curds will begin to rise and clump on the surface. As the curds begin to form, gently scrape the bottom of the pan with the spatula to release any stuck curds.

  3. When the mixture reaches 175° to 180°F, the curds and whey will separate. The whey looks like cloudy water underneath a mass of thick white curds on the surface. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. Working from the side of the pan, gently ladle the whey into the prepared sieve. Go slowly so as not to break up the curds. Finally, ladle the curds into the sieve. Lift the sides of the cloth to help the liquid drain. Don’t press on the curds. When the draining slows, gather the edges of the cloth, tie into a bag, and hang from the faucet. Drain until the dripping stops, about 15 minutes.

  4. Untie the bag and pack the ricotta into airtight containers. Refrigerate and use within 1 week.

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