I’ve been wanting to make my own ricotta cheese for a while. Growing up, ricotta, which in our Italian home we pronounced “rigorta,” was a staple. Mom used to make a creamy, buttery, linguine with ricotta sauce as a standard item on our meatless Fridays. This dish was a favorite with grilled Italian sausage when prepared for our Sunday menu.
My enthusiasm for making the ricotta was almost thwarted after reading a comment from a commenter on a blog claiming that “it was not possible to make ricotta unless I had a cow or five sheep (which I don’t).” This commenter also said that eight gallons of milk would be needed to end up with a small bowl of ricotta. While Bon Appetit had a recipe that looked doable, I put it aside – until two weeks ago, when we went to a chef friend’s for dinner. My husband’s and my role with the dinner was merely to bring some wine – the chefs were doing all the cooking. One chef, in charge of the appetizers, brought in a two cup container filled with fresh ricotta he had just made. It was tender, cheesy, fragrant, and delicious spread on a rosemary cracker. He said it took 12 minutes to make using 1/2 gallon of fresh whole milk, 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of salt to end up with approximately 2 cups of finished product. Re-energized, I gave it a try.
My first effort came out better than I expected. It was easy and really good.
My husband used this to top an heirloom tomato tart he had seen Chef Michael Symon make on the t.v. show, The Chew. Below is his tart in the making…
Our collaboration worked! Am happy that I didn’t give up on the idea of making my own ricotta…next on my list is making fresh mozzarella cheese, then a decadent burrata. My sister met a cheese maker who will show us how.