Do you like Italian food? Well I sure do. I was raised on Italian food, homemade sauce, meatballs, eggplant parm, baked ziti, sausage and peppers, lasagna, you name it. I love making it all, and usually have all the ingredients in the my frig or pantry.
I've read about Homemade Ricotta, and always wanted to try it. So yesterday my Hubby and I gave it a try. It was so easy, here's the recipe.
Homemade Fresh Ricotta
1 whole gallon of Whole Milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup Vinegar
2 TBS of Heavy Cream (if you want yours creamy, I didn't add this, but next time I will)
What you will need:
Thin linen towel, or old clean white tee-shirt
Large spoon with wholes
In a crock pot add the whole gallon of milk, and 2 TBS of Heavy Cream you want, put the temp on HIGH, COVER, and forget about it (in my NY accent of course) for about 2 hours or so until the temp reaches 180 degrees. Check it with a thermometer after the 2 hours.
When the temp reaches 180 degrees, slowly pour the Vinegar and salt, very slowly stir for 10 seconds, keep the cover off, and forget about it for 20 minutes. This is what it will start to look like.
Then after the 20 minutes this is what it will start to look like. DO NOT STIR be gentle you don't want to break up the curds!
Get a large Strainer put it in a large bowl to collect the liquid known as the WHEY, and line it with a thin kitchen towel, or I used an old white tee-shirt. After the 20 minutes start carefully spooning the CURD into the strainer.
Now let the CURD strain for about 1 hour, if you like your Ricotta DRY, if you like your Ricotta a little creamy, let it strain for only about 1/2 hour. Now you have Fresh Ricotta Cheese to make whatever you want with it. This recipe will give you about 2 cups.
Now you will have a lot of liquid/WHEY in the bowl, DO NOT THROW THAT OUT! Yes you can make MORE RICOTTA using the liquid.
Take the liquid and put it into the same crock pot, you don't have to wash it, or just use a big pot on the stove, and reheat it to 200 degrees this time. When it reaches 200 degrees, add another 1/4 cup of vinegar, and 1 tsp salt, stir for 10 seconds, and let it sit for 20 minutes again. Strain just like before, you will get about another cup of fresh Ricotta.
Now you can throw out the leftover WHEY, or use it to do whatever you want, I have no use for it at this point, I tried to make another batch of Ricotta with it, but it didn't work.
I will be using my Fresh Homemade Ricotta tonight for Baked Ziti. Enjoy and So YUMMO!