Food Tuesday: Homemade Ricotta Cheese

November 29, 2011 at 7:06 am Leave a comment

This week’s Food Tuesday features Homemade Ricotta Cheese and Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese with Meatballs

This dish is beyond decadent.  It’s simply delicious and definitely going into my forthcoming cookbook.  Once you taste the extreme fresh flavor of homemade ricotta, you may never go back to store bought.

The recipe requires planning and concentration, but worth the extra attention (tell the kids to play outside, you having cooking to do!)  It’s the perfect “Sunday cooking” recipe, but if you can squeeze it in during the week, go for it!

Serving:  Yields about 1 cup

Ingredients

1/2 gallon of organic whole milk

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 whole lemon)

2 Cheese Cloths

Prepare in Advance 

Before you heat the milk, line a large sieve (or two smaller ones) with a double or triple layer of cheese cloth and place over a bowl (to collect any liquid that has not curdled).

Cooking Steps

Next, heat milk, salt and lemon juice in a large sauce pan on medium high and bring to a boil.  Stir, so the mixture doesn’t burn.   Bring heat down to a simmer.  Liquid should be slightly bubbling.  Stir rapidly until milk curdles, about 2 to 4 minutes.  Pay attention at this stage – don’t deviate from your mission or you’ll ruin the concoction.  Try to curdle as much of the milk as possible.  Pour mixture into the cheesecloth and let “cheese” strain for 1 hour.  Voila!  The curdled milk leftover in the cheese cloth is ricotta.  Scrape the ricotta off the cloth into a container and refrigerate.

Serve Homemade Ricotta chilled with meatballs in tomato sauce, mixed into lasagna or drizzled with honey for a dessert.  Keeps for 3 to 4 days, so gobble it up fast!

Tip:  Cook the 1/2 gallon milk mixture in two, smaller batches to get the hang of curdling.

How to Wash a Cheese Cloth

What is a cheese cloth, how do you find it, and what do you do with is after you use it?  Good questions.  A cheese cloth is a fine cotton, mesh cloth that chefs use to strain liquids, such as beef stock, make cheese and much more.  You can buy it at most grocery stores in the “kitchen utensil” aisle, Bed Bath & Beyond and even Target.  Cheese cloths can run $4 to $5, so wash and care for them to reuse.  After cooking, wash the cheese cloth in hot water in your kitchen sink.  Scrub off any leftover pieces of food.   Use a little dish soap, as needed.  Squeeze out excess water.  Put cloths in a small lingerie laundry bag and dry in dryer or line dry.  Store in a container or plastic bag.

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Entry filed under: At Home, Cooking, Green Living, MommaJam Minute. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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