...Or as my husband calls it, "chez".
A few days ago my local farmer's market offered a class on making farmer's cheese or homemade ricotta... Whichever you prefer to call it. It happened that my fantastic hubby had planned a bit of a date for the same day as the class, so I was a little bummed about not getting to go.
As luck would have it, the latest Gourmet Magazine special edition magazine contains a recipe for homemade ricotta... And let me tell you that one doesn't need to spend $20 to take a class to learn how to make it. It is ridiculously easy.
So. Since I planned to make some cannoli tonight, I figured I would go whole hog and make the ricotta from scratch that goes in the cannoli! Yum!
Get yourself 2 quarts of whole milk, and 8oz of heavy cream. Add them to at least a 6 qt pot, and add to that 1/2 tsp of salt. Set the mixture to high heat and stir constantly until it comes to a rolling boil.
Don't forget that when it comes to a rolling boil it bubbles up fast so DON'T PANIC!! Just make sure you are standing by (and you should be since you should have been stirring constantly to make sure your milk doesn't scorch) You may need to remove it from the burner momentarily to keep it from boiling over until your heat reduces. If it does boil over be careful because your proportions will change.
When it does boil up, turn your heat to low/simmer and add 3 tbs of FRESH lemon juice, and let it go for 2 minutes, during which time you will see it curdle. Once it has decently curdled, ladle your curds and whey (whilst I call you Little Miss Muffet...) into a sieve lined with cheesecloth set over a big bowl. The whey will drain out leaving behind everything else. This is what it should look like at this point:
Keep in mind that it will initially drain pretty aggressively so you will want to make sure that your sieve doesn't sit into the whey if you are using a more shallow bowl. Otherwise let it drain for at least an hour, or in my case 113 minutes while you call your mom and chat. :-)
Once it has drained thoroughly, gather the loose ends of your cheesecloth and squeeze your cheese to remove excess whey. You are done. Here is what mine looked like:
It should yield about 2 cups, or about 1 lb of cheese. There are a multitude of uses for this from putting it into your stuffed pastas or lasagne, or mixing it with fresh herbs to serve with a crusty bread as an appetizer/side dish. Or like me, use it to make cannoli (more about that later).