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Homemade Herbed Ricotta

April 28, 2011

by Elizabeth

Ina’s herbed ricotta was my second foray into cheese making à la maison. I have to say, I’m not sure if I was just more confident in my abilities/ didn’t think I was going to give myself food poisoning this time around, but it felt much easier than my goat cheese experiment. The cheese began to separate into curds and whey almost as soon as I added the vinegar, so I knew I hadn’t messed up. This recipe really is dead-simple – boil liquid, add vinegar, let it drain – so there is no reason you can’t make your own cheese too. (If not just for the bragging rights alone!) Fresh ricotta is really worlds better than the stuff from the grocery store – next time I’m going to make plain ricotta sans herbs, and use it in stuffed shells or lasagna.

Homemade Herbed Ricotta, from Ina Garten

makes about 2 cups

Ricotta

4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Line a mesh sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth (available at cooking stores), set over a large bowl. Meanwhile, bring the cream, milk, and salt to a full boil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat (use the le creuset if you have it). Stir occasionally. Once it has reached a full boil, turn off the heat (but leave it on the burner) and stir in the vinegar. Let it stand for a minute or two, the cheese should start to curdle and separate.

Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and let the liquid filter through into the bowl below. Let it drain for about 25 minutes, dumping out the excess liquid in the bowl occasionally. If you like a thick ricotta (mine was almost to a whipped cream cheese consistency), let it drain longer – 30 or 35 minutes. For a runnier ricotta, let it drain for only 20 minutes.

Herbed Ricotta

3 tablespoons minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Stir the herbs and salt and pepper into the ricotta. Season to taste. Chill for at least an hour, it will keep for 5 days in the fridge. Use it as a spread on crostini or vegetables, instead of cream cheese on a bagel, or on puff pastry topped with tomatoes for a tart, such as this one. Enjoy!

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