Fresh Ricotta

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stacitastacita

I had a life-changing experience this weekend. I made fresh ricotta. It's life changing because it's so easy and so delicious, which is a powerful combination.

Amanda made the fresh ricotta awhile back, and I swore I would try it. It's taken me over a year, but it has been done!

I was motivated when I found a simple recipe for it in Mario Batali's (my kitchen god) Italian Grill, which you should probably purchase immediately.

The process is very simple. I thought I would need more exact measurements and explanation, but after doing it, I think you will agree that within certain parameters, you really can't mess it up:

  1. Bring whole milk + milk fat (like half and half or heavy cream), and a pinch of salt to a "boil" (aka, just before the milk froth rises and spills out of the pan all over your stove) over medium heat. While heating, stir occasionally to make sure the milk doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Add lemon juice and stir until the curds separate. (For reference, I ended up using 2 lemons for 1/2 gallon of milk. I kept added the lemon juice until the curds really started to form.)
  4. Slowly pour the entire mixture over a strainer fitted with 2 layers of cheesecloth. I found it easiest to pour out the liquid (whey) first to make the draining of the ricotta quicker.
  5. Let drain for 5-30 minutes, or overnight if you want to make ricotta gnocchi.

Here's another source if you want to read about it in more detail:
http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/217-Ricotta.html

I then proceeded to make Mario's Eggplant Involtini and Lidia's Ricotta Fritta, neither of which I would recommend if you ever want to move from the table again.

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