Many people, who have been lucky enough to dine in Italy, comment that the cheeses, particularly ricotta, taste much better there. Ricotta literally means “cooked twice”. It is made from the whey that is a by-product of mozzarella production. The stuff we get in the super markets is chemically produced and preserved and is rubbery, a far cry from the real ricotta of Italy.
At Sunnyside Gourmet, we don’t produce mozzarella, and therefore we can’t make real ricotta. However, we’ve discovered a way to make “ricotta” that is both creamy and delicious.
- 1 quart whole milk
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 lemon
Put the milk and cream in a sauce pan and squeeze the lemon into the milk mixture. Swirl once with a large spoon and never mix again. Place pan over high heat.
While milk is heating, line a colander with cheese cloth and place the colander in a large bowl or in a nearby sink.
Heat the milk mixture to just boiling, when it begins to rise. Immediately shut off the heat and wait at least 15 minutes without stirring or moving the pan.
After 15 minutes, take a large spoon, not slotted, and gently scoop up the curds that have formed on the surface. While doing this, try to disturb the remaining curds as little as possible. Place the curds in the lined colander and allow to drain for an hour for loose ricotta, over night for firm ricotta.
What should be left in the pan should be a yellowish clear liquid that you should discard. If it’s still milky white, squeeze another lemon into the pan and repeat the process until the remaining liquid is clear.
You may mix the “ricotta” with salt, garlic, parsley, olive oil or anything else. Chopped preserved lemons are a great addition. Use the “ricotta” for cooking or as a spread.