David and I wanted to make ricotta gnocchi and decided, why not just make homemade ricotta as well? I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for ricotta and it turned out fabulously! The end result was rich, creamy and luxurious. If you haven’t made cheese yet, give it a try! Use the ricotta in/on things like lasagna, gnocchi, crepes, eggs, ravioli, pizza, hor d’oeuvres or in desserts like my Sweet Cannoli Dip.
Easy Homemade Ricotta
Makes about 2 1/4 cups of ricotta
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
• 7 cups whole milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
• 2 lemons, juiced (about 6 tablespoons)
Pour the milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190°F (just below boiling), stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Turn off the heat. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 6 minutes.
Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for 1-2 hours, depending on how thick you’d like the cheese. There will be a large amount of whey- save it if you can use it! We were making gnocchi so we strained the ricotta for 2 hours instead of 1. Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days.