Sunday, March 1, 2009

R2R: Ricotta!

This month's Recipes to Rival challenge is super special- because I got to host!!

I decided to challenge my fellow bloggers to think outside the box a bit and make their own cheese!  Regular readers may know that I dabble in cheesemaking, and I find that soft cheeses are super-approachable and turn out delicious!  

After making the cheese, I asked everyone to make someth
ing of their choice- I went with a simple zucchini involtini that makes a q
uick and delicious weeknight supper.  I had plenty left over, so I added it to a simple arugula salad and dressed it with meyer lemon juice and olive oil.  
Fresh Ricotta
you'll need:1 gallon milk (you can use 1 percent on up, remember that the more fat in the milk, the more cheese it will yield.)
1 quart buttermilk

-cheesecloth (a good, tightly woven one, not the kind you buy at the supermarket)- If you don't have one of these, you can get by with a slotted spoon, but you may lose some of the cheese.

-a thermometer (mine is for oil and candy)

Place buttermilk and milk in a pot, heat on med-low heat until it reaches 185 degrees.

It will begin to separate into curds and whey. Be sure to stir occasionally to make sure no curds stick to the bottom and burn. You will see that as the temperature approaches 185, the whey becomes clearer as the curds coagulate more.

Pour the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander. Tie the ends of the cheesecloth together and hang for 10-15 minutes. Remove from cheesecloth and place in an airtight container.

Voila! Cheese!

Some tips:

use can use milk that has been pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized. Ultra pasteurization heats the milk too much, and de natures the proteins that form curds. You will not get cheese from ultra pasteurized milk. Sorry.

make sure your pots and other equipment are very clean before starting

you can make any amount as long as you stick to a 4 parts milk to 1 part buttermilk ratio.

The involtini was made by grilling slices of zucchini and rolling it up filled with ricotta mixed with a little salt and fresh choped parsely.  Dust with breadcrumbs and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. 


Heather B said...

Thanks for the great challenge! I'll definitely be making fresh ricotta again!

Sara said...

This was a great pick! We enjoyed this cheese making challenge.

Rosabela said...

What an elegant dish! I made ricotta several times last year and it is so rewarding to make your own cheese. If you still have extra ricotta, have you ever tried making ricotta gnocchi? I usually mix 1 part flour to 1 part ricotta for soft gnocchi but if you like your gnocchi to be chewy then just double the flour. They taste bland on their own but they taste wonderful when dressed up with your favourite sauce. Hope that helps. :-)

Madam Chow said...

Thanks for this challenge - I was shocked at how easy this was, and plan on making this a lot more in the future. Sure beats the commercial stuff!

Temperance said...

Thanks for a great challenge! the involti looks great and easy (which is important) fabulous job!

Shawnee said...

I have to thank you for this challenge - I probably never would have tried to make my own ricotta, and would never have discovered how easy it really is. Great idea!