12.07.2008

Homemade Ricotta

I've always wanted to make my own cheese.  

Okay, fine.  Not always.  But certainly in the past few years I've been thinking it would be a really cool thing to do.  So much so that it made it on to my "Things to Do Before I Die" list (which really does exist - I have it saved on my computer and highlight events as I accomplish them).

In the same vein, I have a few cheese making books on my Amazon and GoodReads lists: Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll and The Year of the Goat by Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz*, among them.

I'm here to tell you that there isn't anything easier than homemade ricotta cheese.  If you've ever thought about making your own cheese as well, this is the place to start.  Mario Batali has the perfect recipe, and it can be found at Food Network or in his new cookbook, Italian Grill.  Here is how it turned out:


Mario's recipe calls for a conical sieve with cheesecloth...neither of which I had...naturally.  So I just used a semi-circle sieve we have and that worked fine, even though I had to sieve it in stages.

I didn't want to skimp so I used Ronnybrook's local milk and cream, which was in no way inexpensive:


The experience was wonderfully simple and gratifying.  Nevertheless, I will readily confess that I won't do this often for two reasons: 1) as I said, Not Cheap, and 2) we actually have a phenomenal cheese purveyor down the street from our apartment, Cheese of the World.  They have an exceptional fresh ricotta that I buy regularly, and it is every bit as tangy and creamy as the one I made.  And it comes in more managable portions.  

To be completely frank, I'll save the homemade ricotta recipe for those guests that don't know much about food so the Wow Factor will be higher: "You made this?!  Yourself?!"  Anyone who knows anything about food will know exactly how easy it was and they are less likely to be impressed.

Eat, drink, and seek out food adventures!


* Year of the Goat is their very interesting, if out-of-date, website.

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