Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How-To Tuesday! Ricotta Cheese

You might not guess it but Ricotta Cheese is so easy to make!  All you need is some milk, cream, and vinegar or lemon juice.  The result is so fresh and creamy; it really puts the store bought stuff to shame!  This is a great  way to amp up your favorite lasagna recipe...or maybe the ravioli recipe I'm posting tomorrow?

Fresh Ricotta Cheese - adapted from Epicurious.com
2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp. white vinegar

In a large pot over medium heat, slowly bring the milk, cream and salt to a boil.  Stir occasionally.  Meanwhile, line a colander with cheesecloth and put it into a clean sink.  Once the milk is boiling, add the vinegar and reduce the heat to low.  While stirring, allow the pot to simmer until curds begin to form.  That takes only about 2 minutes!  At that point remove the pot from heat and pour it into the colander.  Let the cheese drain for about an hour.

Gather the cheese cloth together above the curds and twist to squeeze out any remaining liquid.  Put the ricotta into a storage container with lid and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.  It only keeps for about two days so use it soon!

If you are a big fan of Indian food like Alex and I, once drained, press the cheese into the bottom of a square storage container.  When it is cold cut it into cubes....homemade paneer!  You can brown the paneer in a frying pan with a  little oil and serve it with some Tikka Masala sauce and rice for a great vegetarian dinner.

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