Hello, my name is Michelle, and I am a cheese addict. One of my favorite obsessions, errr, I mean foods, is cheese. I literally cannot live without it! We all need a little ricotta!
I was feeling inspired after a tasting at Austin’s new Italian food truck, Patrizi’s. Patrizi’s serves up fresh, traditional fare and offers patrons a piece of Italy right in the heart of Austin! I especially loved the pasta pomodoro served with fresh ricotta cheese and I thought “Why not make my own ricotta?” Pasta+Wine+Cheese=Brilliance!
Ricotta cheese can make plain, drab food taste like a decadent feast. It can liven up weekday dinners, satisfy a sweet tooth, and can be used in place of a variety of cheeses such as Parmesan. Needless to say, I will never buy store bought ricotta again! It is too easy to make and tastes far better than the stuff sitting on the shelf for weeks.
I made this batch of ricotta with whole milk and heavy cream I found at the grocery store. I would recommend using organic milk and cream if you can find it. I think it would make the cheese taste richer. If not, you can use products that are most convenient to you. It still turned out wonderful.
There are many different coagulates you can use to create the “curd”. I chose lemon juice over vinegar because I thought the taste would be fresher. You can certainly use a white wine vinegar if desired.
I use fresh ricotta on pasta, pizza, as a topping for toasted bread, or as breakfast topped with honey, walnuts, and raspberries. If eating with crackers or bread, I highly recommend adding fresh, cracked pepper and lemon or orange zest. Simple, but out of this world!
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- Servings: 8
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cooking Time: 75 minutes
- 2 quarts whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Juice two lemons for the coagulate and set aside.
Heat milk, cream, and salt over medium-high heat until liquid hits a roaring boil. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. When liquid starts to boil, lower heat to simmer and add three tablespoons of lemon juice. Stir for two minutes until the curd starts to form. Turn off the heat and let sit for one minute.
Pour curds and whey into strainer and cheesecloth. The whey will drain into the bowl. Let sit for one hour to pull the moisture out of the cheese. Discard whey (unless you want to use in other recipes) and refrigerate cheese. Ricotta will keep 3-4 days in a covered container.