Super Luscious Homemade Ricotta

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

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Do you ever imagine what your life would be like if you could have a “do over”?    If you could just pick up and move wherever you wanted, where would you go and what would you do?   I think about that a lot – not because I don’t like where I am – because I do.   But because, in this great, big, wonderful world, there are many places I can envision myself being happy and productive in.    Take, for instance, when I visited Oregon for the first time last Fall.  I was utterly enchanted by the panorama of gently rolling hills and beautiful gardens.  By the time my trip was over, I had a grand fantasy of  settling into my own charming country cottage surrounded by apple and pear orchards.  I’d spend my days harvesting nature’s bounty and lovingly creating delectable jams, jellies and butters.

Another place I can see myself living is the lush and fertile French countryside. I’d have a few cows,  goats and sheep – maybe some chickens too.  Not a lot, but just enough to keep me in enough milk, eggs and cream to make lots of custards, butter, brioche – and cheese.  Oh yes, definitely cheese!  Couldn’t you just picture me peddling petits pots of homemade fromage blanc and buttery disks of Camembert at my own roadside fromagerie?  Now, that would be something!

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I’ve always been fascinated by the art of cheesemaking!   I adore cheese, especially soft creamy ones.  And, Mr. SGCC is an absolute cheesehound!   I’ve played around a little with making fresh cheeses like mascarpone, mozzarella and ricotta – although ricotta is actually not a cheese.   But, I’d love to learn how to do more.     Maybe someday I’ll find myself in a quaint little village in Normandy.  Who knows?  Until then, I’ll have to be content with what I know, like making this insanely rich and creamy, super luscious ricotta. 

While commonly thought of as such, ricotta is not technically a cheese because of the method used to make it. It is traditionally made from the whey derived from other cheeses, such as mozzarella or provolone. The whey is combined and heated with cow, buffalo or sheep milk, and fermented to form fine curds. In fact, the term “ricotta” literally means “recooked”. Once formed, the curds are drained through cheesecloth until they reach a thick, spreadable consistency.

Commercially produced American ricotta is typically kind of bland and watery, with a grainy texture. It’s good, but not nearly as good as homemade, which is almost always denser, creamier and ever so slightly sweeter. When tasted side by side, you can definitely appreciate the difference.

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Luckily, this ricotta is not only super easy to make at home, but its flavor is far better than anything you can find at the supermarket. With an investment of only four ingredients and a couple of hours, most of which is waiting time, you will be rewarded with a batch of velvety and voluptuous, snowy white ricotta. It can be added to any recipe that calls for ricotta – sweet or savory.  You can use it in pasta dishes or as a topping for pizza, as well as in pastries, cheesecakes, tarts and pies.  I sometimes spread it on toasted baguette slices and top it with a little pesto, roasted peppers and tomato for a simple and delicious crostini.  It’s also wonderful mixed with crunchy granola and a drizzle of honey for a quick and healthy breakfast.  The possibilities are endless!   I must warn you, though. This stuff is addictive!

Whenever I’m in the mood to make ricotta, I stock up on the amazing fresh milk and cream from a local dairy farm just outside of town.  I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again.  Using the best quality ingredients you can find, really does make a difference in your final product – especially one with so few ingredients.

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And, don’t you dare throw away the leftover whey from making this ricotta!  Yes, I know it looks kind of yucky, but it’s not.  Whey is high in protein and loaded with vitamins and minerals. It can be saved in the fridge for a couple of weeks and used in lots of ways. It’s a great addition to smoothies, soups and puddings. Whey can also be used in place of water when making homemade bread.  And, you can share the love by adding some to your dog’s food for extra nutrition and to promote a glossy coat.

So go ahead and impress your nearest and dearest by making a batch or two of homemade ricotta? No one has to know how simple it was to do. My lips are sealed!

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20 responses to Super Luscious Homemade Ricotta

  1. On August 21, 2012 at 10:35am, Monet said...

    What a gorgeous jar of ricotta! So many amazing things to be made. I can only imagine how wonderful this tastes over some toast. And of course, I’m dreaming of ricotta and cinnamon muffins now.

    • On August 23, 2012 at 11:40am, Susan said...

      Oooh! Cinnamon muffins sound great! :)

  2. On August 21, 2012 at 10:42am, Marguerite said...

    Wow. I am making this today!!! Will keep you posted buddy!

  3. On August 21, 2012 at 11:19am, Rosa said...

    What a gorgeous texture! I really have to make my own ricotta…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. On August 21, 2012 at 12:01pm, Denise said...

    Susan,

    Such a pretty photo of ricotta. I love making ricotta and have been for about a year now. It is amazing; isn’t it. I like serving as a light dessert with some fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey. Perfect.

    • On August 23, 2012 at 11:41am, Susan said...

      I love it the same way, Denise. With good ingredients, simple is better!

  5. On August 21, 2012 at 4:15pm, Erin @ Texanerin Baking said...

    I’ve made this same recipe and love it! It really makes a huge difference in lasagna. And cannoli. I’ve even used it in meatballs and it’s amazing. Your pictures are lovely! And yeah, I think about do-overs all the time. But I guess I shouldn’t because I’m super happy now. :)

    • On August 23, 2012 at 11:42am, Susan said...

      You’re absolutely right. Stay tuned for some stuffed shells with homemade ricotta! :)

  6. On August 21, 2012 at 6:58pm, Rachel (S[d]OC) said...

    OH wow. Milk and cream! Now that’s rich. I bought some ricotta for a recipe this week that’s supposedly all fresh and fancy. Now you’re making me feel guilty I didn’t make it myself .

    My husband and I are always planning our our new life elsewhere. We don’t want to be stuck here forever. We want the country!

    • On August 23, 2012 at 11:43am, Susan said...

      Don’t feel guilty! Enjoy the good stuff if you can find it.

  7. On August 21, 2012 at 7:44pm, Katy said...

    Oooh, I love this recipe. I made it for the first time a while ago, and my mom pronounced it “as good as the fresh ricotta I used to get at the Italian market” from when we used to live in Europe. I use it every single morning, mixed into my scrambled eggs as they cook. It’s decadent. I’ve used it in homemade ravioli, ricotta-tomato sauce, and desserts too. Mmm.

    • On August 23, 2012 at 11:45am, Susan said...

      I think it’s just as good too. Never thought to add it to scrambled eggs, but I will now!

  8. On August 21, 2012 at 7:49pm, Rose D. Frenchtown, NJ said...

    You had me at ricotta!! I’m trying this tomorrow…

  9. On August 21, 2012 at 8:48pm, Marguerite said...

    Just want to say the ricotta was amazing….actually YOU are amazing…I love your website!!!!!

    • On August 23, 2012 at 11:49am, Susan said...

      So glad you liked it, Marguerite! And, thank you. You’re pretty amazing too! 8)

  10. On August 21, 2012 at 9:49pm, Vicki Bensinger said...

    This has been on my list of things to make. Yours looks so smooth and creamy delicious. Now I’m definitely going to make it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  11. On August 22, 2012 at 9:22pm, Elisabeth said...

    I’ll have to try this version. I make cheese every week (mostly Manchego and chevre) as we have two goats of our own. This looks really luscious with the addition of cream.

  12. On August 27, 2012 at 12:42am, Elizabeth - SugarHero! said...

    Ohhhh, I love this. I really like ricotta but can’t always justify the expense if I’m not sure I’m going to finish it all before it goes bad. Making my own seems like a delicious alternative.

  13. On October 12, 2012 at 7:53pm, Joann @ The Italian Next Door said...

    This looks delicious! We’re definately on the same page about this stuff. Can’t beat fresh and homeade! And I use the whey for bread making too. Hey, come visit me over at The Italian Next Door. And I’d love for you to leave me a comment there after one of my posts. I just started the blog last month and am looking for new blogging friends.

  14. On February 15, 2013 at 4:35pm, Edie said...

    I made this recipe this morning. It is awesome!! I had all to do to keep from sampling a teaspoonful or two while it was draining! Yum!! Do I dare try to double the recipe next time?

1 pings to Super Luscious Homemade Ricotta

  1. On August 24, 2012 at 7:00am, The Internet Kitchen: Back on the Bike | Macheesmo pinged...

    [...] Homemade Ricotta – I think this looks sort of similar to the homemade cheese I made last week, but with lots of different applications. Looks great! (@ Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy) [...]

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kiss the cook!

Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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