Fresh Ricotta

Homemade ricotta is nothing like what you find in the supermarket; packed tightly into tubs with expiry dates a month long. It is naturally sweet with creamy curds and only lasts a few days. That is the good news. It is a bit time consuming,uses quite a bit of milk, and can be a bit of a mess. Last week cannoli was on my mind so I whipped up a pot of fresh ricotta. And when I say whipped, I mean spent an entire day preparing, cooking, skimming and draining. For my birthday, my friend gave me a beautiful cookbook
“my calabria” by rosetta costantino. Rosetta shares a family recipe for ricotta using a combination of milk and cream. It produces a large yield perfect for eating with a spoon, whipped into lemon pancakes,stuffed into cannoli shells, or sharing with friends.

*from my calabria
1 gallon whole milk
3/4 cup cream
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp rennet
1/4 cup cold water
Place the milk and cream in heavy pan and stir to mix well. warm over heat to 200-210F. Remove from heat and add the salt. stir to dissolve. Let the milk to cool to 100F. skim any foam or skin that forms on top of the milk. In a small bowl, mix the rennet with cold water. Stir the diluted rennet into the pot of milk, then leave undisturbed until the milk has visibly thickened, about 10 minutes. Cut a large “cross” in the milk. Stir quickly with a wooden spoon for 15-20 seconds to break up the coagulated milk. Using a perforated metal skimmer immersed in the milk,slowly and gently stir in one direction, so slowly that it takes about 20 seconds to make one revolution. Milk will begin to separate into curds and whey. Slowly pour off the whey through a cheesecloth lined colander, set over a bowl to drain. Let stand at room temperature until whey stops dripping from the sieve. Alternately, if you have ricotta baskets, you can use those to drain the curds. The ricotta should be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator. It is best used within 2-3 days. This makes about 2 lbs
* I don’t throw the whey out…I use it. Mike and I use it in our smoothies and I give the dogs a bit of it in their kibble. It helps with a shiny coat. I can’t say the same for us humans.