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Homemade Ricotta

July 23, 2010

pita pizza: homemade ricotta, Parmesan, heirloom tomato

Fact: I live with a bona-fide cheese hater.

Quincy, my boyfriend of nearly four years, dislikes cheese with the same intensity you’d expect from a five-year-old, faced with a bowl full o’ lima beans or a bucket of brussel sprouts. Making a quiche lorraine? Forget the Gruyère. A pizza? Nothing stronger than mozzarella, please. Burgers and bolognese must be served sans-cheese, and preferably not prepared in the vicinity of any cheese or cheese-like product. It’s a pretty serious situation.

Despite being surrounded by this kind of cheese aversion, I’m hanging on tight to my love of the stuff. And although I try to be merciful, saving my pungent fontina grilled cheese sandwich for the nights he’s out late, I can’t go long without cheese in some form or another. This week, homemade ricotta did the trick.

simple ingredients

Ever since hearing a segment on the Splendid Table podcast a couple of weeks ago, highlighting the delight and ease of making homemade cheese, I’ve been dying to give it a try. I recognize that this is a fairly unique desire, making ricotta cheese at home, but before you start to think I’m a bit wacky (or have an excess of spare time on my hands), let me explain myself. Really–Why make your own cheese? Or your own marshmallows for that matter? In re-creating these types of typically store-bought foods, I’d say I’m compelled by good ol’ fashioned curiosity, a love of all things “DIY” and the prospect that:

[the best raw ingredients] + [a little TLC] = [a product better than it’s supermarket counterpart]

In the case of this week’s experiment, the above equation certainly proves true. And for those curious about the spare time factor, the whole endeavor took little more than 15 minutes. With only three simple ingredients and the most basic principles of cheese making, crafting homemade ricotta is simple. The finished product is rich yet light in texture, and is just screaming to be eaten, spread simply on bread with a little salt, pepper and a slice of fresh tomato.

Given that I am the only cheese eater in my household (and not yet fully aware of how delicious this stuff would be), I made only 1/8 of the original Splendid Table recipe, which worked out to:

1 pint of milk
1/4 tsp. of salt
2 tsp. of lemon juice

Although the above ingredients only yielded about 1/3 cup of ricotta, it was enough for a personal pita pizza [top photo], and as a supplement to some homemade tagliatelle with zucchini and pesto [shown below]. Although it was a nice experiment, I’m going for the gusto next time and making a more substantial batch. I can always share it with the neighbors.

homemade tagliatelle with pesto, zucchini and parmesean

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2011 1:18 pm

    Mmmm. I want that Ricotta pizza that you show in your first photo! Making Ricotta is so easy!!! And the final product costs a fraction of what you’d pay at Whole Foods!!!! I usually make mine with buttermilk but I have decided to experiment with various souring agents (lemon juice, vinegar, etc…) I posted pictures from my experiment on my blog:


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