Tuesday, May 1, 2012

reward without effort






With the variety of amazing fruits and vegetables currently coming into season, we are moving away from roasting everything to fresh and quick preparations of spring's loveliest vegetables. Greens, peas, ramps, beets, and asparagus are just a few we've enjoyed in the last week. And what better to pair with all of those wonderful vegetables than an amazing homemade cheese to stir into pasta, spread on crusty bread, or dollop onto anything you're cooking? 

Enter this recipe for ricotta cheese. This is one of those recipes that you taste and ask yourself, "I made this in my kitchen? In less than 30 minutes?" And then you will promptly stop buying packaged ricotta cheese and begin making your own whenever the need or occasion arrives. I hope you will waste no time and get started making a batch as soon as you can. Let me know how yours turns out!

Ricotta 
Ina Garten
 
Ingredients
4 cups whole milk (you can use 2%, but I would shy away from 1% or skim)
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Directions
Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.

Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).

Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I tend to like mine on the thicker side, but some prefer it moister.) Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.
 

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