A friend posted a recipe for homemade ricotta cheese on her Facebook wall last night and raved about how easy it was, so I decided to try it myself. I didn’t use the recipe she posted, because I didn’t have all the ingredients listed.
I used this recipe from Ina Garten instead and it turned out wonderfully. It was better than any store bought ricotta I’ve ever eaten. It was one of the easiest ‘fancy’ recipes I’ve ever used. I feel inspired to try out other cheese making techniques next.
Maisie enjoyed licking the excess cheese off the cheesecloth when I was finished.
I will be using it for a zucchini pasta recipe tomorrow.
Now, a little bit about the history of ricotta cheese from Clifford Wright’s website:
Two of the earliest mentions or depictions of ricotta are related to Sicily. Professor Santi Correnti, chairman of the history department of the University of Catania and a preeminent historian of Sicily, writes that during the reign of the Sicilian king Frederick II, in the early thirteenth century, the king and his hunting party came across the hut of a dairy farmer making ricotta and, being ravenous, asked for some. Frederick pulled out his bread loaf, poured the hot ricotta and whey on top and advised his retinue thatcu’ non mancia ccu’ so’ cucchiaru lassa tutto ‘o zammataru (Those who don’t eat with a spoon will leave all their ricotta behind).
The first depiction of the making of ricotta is an illustration in the medical treatise known as theTacuinum sanitatis (medieval health handbook), the Latin translation of the Arab physician Ibn Butlan’s eleventh century Taqwim al-sihha.
Ortensio Lando in his Commentario delle piu notabili e mostruose cose d’Italia published in 1548 has his fictional traveler go to Val Calci, at some distance from Pisa, for the best ricotta in the world.
boiling the milk, cream, vinegar, and salt
straining the curds through moistened cheesecloth
after about a half hour, this is what it looked like.
Homemade ricotta! I can’t believe how incredibly easy it was! After this photo was snapped, I wrapped the entire thing in cling film.