Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Ryan and I headed out for “date night” in Decatur last Friday and tried a new restaurant that came highly recommended from some valued fellow food-lover friends: No. 246. It was just opened in July by Ford Fry and Drew Belline (both from JCT, another one of my favorite spots), and we had a memorable-to-be-repeated experience. The food can be described as “Italian-inspired using local ingredients” sort of fare: all I know is that I love the “scene”, love the “shabby chic” decor, and had some foods you can’t find in just any old restaurant. ANYWAYS- go there. In the meantime, back to my ricotta.

As an appetizer, we chose two spreads, a pork rillette (not sure if I will ever make that, but I wish I could because it was crazy delicious) and homemade ricotta. I sat there across from Ryan, fighting for forkfulls of this delicious homemade spread, and decided I was making homemade ricotta. It was a recipe I’ve seen online a few times, but never had the courage to try. This time, I had to see if I could make it at home, and upon reviewing the recipe further, I didn’t feel quite as scared anymore.

There are lots of variations of the homemade ricotta recipe, so for my first try, I used 101 Cookbooks suggestion of combining whole milk and buttermilk in a 4:1 ratio. A few other recipes called for acids such as vinegar or lemon juice and a few only called for whole milk. I was pretty pleased with this combination, and as Ryan pointed out, the flavor resembled more of a sweet cream butter than a tangy ricotta, something we both rather enjoyed, and could top off with a drizzle of olive oil or a squeeze of a lemon. It requires 2 ingredients and takes about 20 minutes total to make, so whip it up next time you’re heading somewhere with an appetizer and impress your friends. We’ve been enjoying it on toast with a side of ratatouille made with veggies I found at the Farmer’s Market and then decided to walk 2 miles home with.

Homemade Ricotta:

4 cups whole milk

1 cup buttermilk

salt, lemon juice, or olive oil for additional flavor

Combine the milk and buttermilk in a pot on the stove and heat until it reaches between 175-190F. While that heats, place a large sifter/sieve (whatever…something with holes in it!) over a bowl and line the strainer (ha- I thought of another one!) with 4-5 layers of cheese cloth. As the milk heats, you will notice the curdles separating from the whey liquid. That’s good! Once it has reached its finishing temperature, remove it from the heat, and ladle into the cheesecloth little by little. Allow it to drain for about 15 minutes before relocating it to a storage container in the fridge. Makes about 1 cup of ricotta, which will keep in the fridge for a few days. Spread it on toast, make a lasagna, OR, you can even add cocoa and sugar in order to make yourself a little dessert! Have fun!

**Ryan helped out by documenting the cooking “process” this week. Thanks, “Ron!” :)

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5 Responses to Homemade Ricotta Cheese

  1. nemezia

    Wow, I must try this one in my kitchen….I would love to have Leo (the boxer) documenting it and enjoying the flavors.

  2. I’d love to try home made ricotta! I’m not sure I’ll get around to it any time soon because it seems pretty time-consuming, although I’m sure it’s worth it in the end :)

  3. these are great photos! very impressive on all fronts!

  4. Okay, you’re impressed by my cake pops and you’re making homemade cheese?!?! That is impressive!
    PS: I have the same color nail polish on my toes right now :)

  5. Yum! Really want to try No. 246 this month, while they’re making GF pasta. Any takers?
    PS: I heart the green nail polish.