Recently I found myself with too much milk and an expiration date coming quickly. So I wanted to make something with all of this extra milk that I needed to use up. So looking around I realized that I could make a batch of fresh ricotta cheese and serve for dinner with pasta and marinara.
If you have never made ricotta from home, do not panic! This is easy.
This is a dish that you can make ahead, serve so many ways, and feel good that there are no weird ingredients going into preserving. But you need to use this up the day you make it or the next.
2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
You also need cheese cloth and a fine strainer.
- Before you start, cover a large bowl with a strainer, then cover the strainer with cheesecloth. This is going to help you when you are ready to pour your hot liquids into the strainer later.
- Slowly in a large pot add your milk, cream and salt. Bring that to a slow boil, so don't go full heat. Be patient with your cheese making. You also want to keep stirring the pot to keep the milk from sticking and scorching.
- You can use fresh lemon here, but make sure you use a filter to keep from getting seeds in the pot. Or you can just use store-bought juice. Add the juice and then turn town the head to low. Again you want to keep stirring your mixture because this is where the milk and juice come together to make tiny milk curds
- Stir for 2-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your curds. I have actually needed to add a little more lemon if I didn't see the desired change. So add in a spoonful at a time.
- Now pour the mixture into the strainer slowly. Be careful, it is HOT!
- What you are going to see is that the liquid is going to drain out pretty slowly and you want to let it sit for about an hour. Then drain out all of the water from the bowl, give your cheese a gentle squeeze, then chill it in the fridge in a covered container until you are ready to use it.
There are so many options for using fresh ricotta that having your own fresh batch on hand is an easy staple.
What will you use your ricotta on?