Along Came A Spider, and…
You remember Little Miss Muffet? Eating her curds and whey? I don’t know why the damn spider gets all the attention, the real story is the curds and whey. Who knew you could make ricotta at home? Well, all those Italian grandmothers know.
Today, we call curds ricotta and most of us buy it at the store. If you live away from the spiritual home of the Italian Americans, New Jersey – where I live – you may only see ricotta in the supermarket. Here, we have Italian delis and trattorias who sell it made fresh. And it is pricey and precious.
But I just learned this week how to make ricotta at home and OMG. It’s easy to make – 15 minutes tops. It’s more delicious than any store bought stuff. Because it is – as they say – fresh made. And if you use organic dairy to start with - hmmmmm- you’re gonna have a superior ricotta.
So why would you want to make ricotta? To eat for lunch. Plain, or with just a slice of tomato and a leaf of basil from the garden. Or, for the kids, how about drizzled with honey. And the next time you see a recipe calling for ricotta you won’t have to wonder where to buy it, you can just make it. I love that.
I made ricotta yesterday and put it into a semi freddo. Yum. Today, I’m making it again and I’m gonna use it in a home made lasagna, that I’m also making using home made noodles, and tomatoes from the garden. Ah, the pleasures of home made.
And what to do with all that lovely whey that’s left behind? Don’t you have a dog? Add it to the dog’s food. Drink it yourself – it’s pure protein. Mix it with fruit juice, or just over ice. It’s good and good for you. Somebody told me its even good to fertilize the tomatoes. I’ve got some tomato plants just begging for the stuff.
So, go and god bless and make yourself some ricotta today.
Home Made Ricotta
Thank to Nourished and Nurtured for the basic idea.
4 cups whole organic milk (I buy Organic Valley)
1 cup organic buttermilk
1/3 cup organic heavy cream
coarse sea salt
Line a fine mesh strainer with several folds of cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter. Place the strainer over a large bowl to catch the whey.
Combine milk, buttermilk and cream in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Using a thermometer, raise the temperature to almost boiling, about 185° F. The curds will separate out from the whey. It takes about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Using a slotted spoon, scoop the curds into the cheesecloth or paper filter. Sprinkle with a little salt every few spoonsful.
Let the ricotta drain for about 5 minutes. Check the consistency. If you like it drier, let it drain a bit more. Want it more moist, spoon back in a bit of the whey. Use this ricotta right away, within a couple days. Store covered in the refrigerator.