Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fresh Homemade Ricotta

Happy Hump Day! I've wanted to sit here and write this post since I made the ricotta on Saturday but haven't had a minute, it's been a crazy busy around here. But it's my day off, I've had a great workout and cleaned the house and now I have the rest of the day to do a bit of most needed relaxing. I've missed how soothing it is typing posts talking about things that I enjoy. And making homemade cheese was most enjoyable.

I was inspired to make homemade ricotta by this recipe in Cooking Light magazine~ Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, and Fresh Ricotta Pasta. What could be better than pasta and lightly sauteed veggies topped with fresh ricotta? Nothing! I picked up an extra half gallon of fresh milk from the farm and got to work. I followed the method from this recipe from the gorgeous blog ,101 Cookbooks.

Half gallon of whole milk and two cups organic buttermilk

Gently heat over medium

Remove from heat once the curds start forming

Drain and you have cheese, soft, warm, glorious ricotta cheese

It is just that easy. I broke the curds up really small and stirred in some of the cream I skimmed from the other half gallon of milk. It made two cups of ricotta. Next time, I will remove it from the heat a bit sooner, like the second I see the curds forming. I think it will yield a more delicate texture. But this was amazing, just the same. Had I cooked it longer, I could have formed it into mozzarella balls! Now it's time for dinner...

This meal was simple and delicious. Olive oil, crushed red pepper, two cloves of garlic, broccolini, yellow squash, zucchini, grape tomatoes, fresh mint, basil and parsley and of course the fresh ricotta cheese.

Pasta is one of the foods I still have to be careful with. One box of Dreamfield's pasta has 6 servings, I weighed out half the box which leave one hearty portion for both Rob and me with one slightly smaller portion leftover to take to work for dinner. I swear to you I could eat a whole pound of pasta with my mother's garden tomato marinara in one sitting. I've done it more times that I care to think about. It's a victorious feeling being able to sensibly enjoy my absolute favorite foodstuff without falling to pieces, overeating then hating myself for it.

I like this little flying saucer, keeps me honest

Alright, let's cook. I got the water boiling for the rotini then warmed the saute pan over medium heat, poured in a little olive oil, sprinkled in crushed red pepper and two cloves of minced garlic. I let that heat up until the garlic was fragrant and the pepper released it's heat and flavor into the oil.

I added the veggies that I had chopped up, sprinkled in a bit of kosher salt and black pepper and sauteed them until tender-crisp.

I turned off the heat and added the halved tomatoes and chopped, fresh herbs. Then the pasta went in and got tossed all together with a drizzle of spicy, Sicilian olive oil.

I served it up in my favorite rimmed pasta bowls and topped it with the fresh ricotta.

Not for devouring, we lingered over this bowl of nutritious deliciousness

I didn't want to waste the leftover whey, I saved it to make bread and will feed the rest to the tomato plants. It's really fun making cheese, I hope you'll give it a try.


  1. I am so adding this to my weekend to-do list.

    What was the cheese yield from your six cups of milk?

  2. Hi Jessica,

    It's one half gallon of whole milk plus two cups of buttermilk to make two cups of cheese.

  3. Wow...impressive, but so simple...I had no idea. Martha out!

  4. Well done! The dish looks great and I'm pretty impressed with the apparent ease of making Ricotta.

    I'm more than half way through the Omnivore's Dilema and am learning so much! I hope you're enjoying it, as well. Have you read the bit about the pigs tails yet? Ouch!!!

  5. Thank you so much for posting this! I'm excited to try and make my own Ricotta cheese, a lot of my weight watchers recipes call for ricotta and I can never find it at my store.. If I do find it, it's expensive as all heck. Thank you again!