Alright. I’m going to start off with a big ol’ disclaimer here before I get dozens of angry emails from authentic ricotta loving Italians. Is this a recipe for 100% authentic Italian ricotta cheese? NO. But I find it to have a close resemblance to, as well as a far superior taste and texture to the store-bought version of ricotta cheese. It has a silky smooth, creamy texture instead of the grainy, dry clumps you find with the pre-made variety.
Real, authentic ricotta cheese is made from the whey leftover from making fresh mozzarella cheese. Ricotta literally means ‘re-cooked’. Someday, I will absolutely tackle the making of authentic Ricotta cheese, but for now, this version is a godsend.
Why? Oh my goodness. You will just have to make it and see for yourself. The ingredients are few and the cost is minimal. You need a half gallon of whole milk, 1 cup of cream, fresh lemon juice, salt, and cheese cloth. That’s it.
Well, a bowl and a pot will be helpful as well.
The method is simple: Heat the milk , cream, and salt just to a boil and add the lemon juice. The milk will separate (mine did almost instantly) and you will be left with creamy curds and a lot of watery whey. The curds and whey are then poured through a cheesecloth lined strainer and the liquid is drained off. I only let it drain for a minute or so because I don’t like it to get too dry.
That’s it! Refrigerate your cheese or use it right away. I like to eat it almost as soon as it’s made. Next time I make this I plan on spreading it over a slice fresh baked artisan bread with a drizzle of honey!
This cheese seriously takes about 5 minutes to make. You end up with about 2 cups of cheese. Depending on the quality of ingredients you use, this cheese will run you up to 75% less than buying it in the store.
Actually, you have no excuses to not make this cheese. Let me list them for you again:
*It’s cost-effective. 2 cups of ricotta ends up costing around $1.50 make.
*It’s fast to make. 5-10 minutes from start to finish depending on your speediness.
*It calls for minimal ingredients that you likely already have on hand : Milk, Cream, Lemons, and Salt.
*It’s ready to use as soon as you finish draining it. No ripening time.
*The end result is incredibly delicious. So creamy and smooth and just….perfect.
So what are you waiting for? Go try making your own and see just how all-around awesome it is!
We had this cheese the other night inside some stuffed shells with ground turkey and fresh pesto. It was PHENOMENAL. I will never be able to go back to store-bought ricotta (even if this isn’t the authentic version) ever again.
Want to try another homemade cheese? This Mascarpone is just as easy and delicious.
- ½ Gallon Whole Milk
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt
- 2 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
- Line a strainer with two to three layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl. Set aside.
- Add the milk, cream, and salt to a large pot and slowly bring it two a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from scorching. When the milk reaches a boil, add the lemon juice, stirring constantly, until the milk curdles. This may happen right away or take up to two minutes.
- Pour the curds and whey through the cheesecloth lined strainer. Let drain for up to 30 minutes. I only drain it for about 5 minutes as I don't like it to get too dry.
- Place the finished cheese in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to two day.
very slightly adapted from The Italian Dish