Fresh Homemade Ricotta and a Bruschetta recipe.... Have you ever had fresh ricotta...not the store-bought, but the homemade kind? Some time ago, a recent commenter, asked me if I had ever made fresh ricotta before...Ok, so I've been meaning to make ricotta for a long time now, but somehow I just just put it off, trying out other recipes such as paneer, labneh, etc. But when Craig brought it to my attention, I knew I had put it off for too long. I decided it was time to put it on the top of my to-do list. The very top. I needed to make it. So I searched for a recipe and decided to make Mario Batali's version, just because it was SO easy to do....and well, it was also a bit more decadent with the addition of the half and half:). Wow, was it simple and incredibly delicious! It was so quick to make, that it was unbelievable...and it tasted so much better than the store-bought kind. If you've made paneer before, this is very similar... actually, this is even easier. I really liked it. Liked it a lot. There are other versions of homemade ricotta out there...where the ricotta is drained and allowed to sit for a few hours in a cozy environment. I prefer the quicker version... probably because I get to consume it earlier:).
The ricotta is wonderful in a variety of dishes...sweet or savory. For a sweet version, you may want to add a bit of fresh cream to make it creamier. I love the ability to make the ricotta softer or firmer. It all depends how it will be used. This time around, I chose to use it simply as an appetizer/dessert. It would be wonderful to use the ricotta to make some cheese stuffed shells, lasagna, etc...or use it wherever ricotta is called for. Somehow, I really prefer it fresh, with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of grated orange peel....you could also top it with some chopped pecans, walnuts, etc. That combination can't be beat... well, just because almost everything tastes better with honey:). Anyway, if you've never tried making homemade ricotta, you just might want to try it. I think you will like it. We did. Hope you enjoy...
You will need: adapted from Mario Batali ...Will yield about a cup and a half or so of ricotta. You can easily double the recipe.
2 cups whole milk( do not use low fat)
1 cup half-half
2 TBS white vinegar
generous pinch of salt (less if doing for dessert, more if for savory)
Set a cheesecloth/flour sack/ even a sturdy paper towel over a large bowl.
In a stainless steel pot, add the milk, half and half, and salt. Bring to a full boil...I brought mine to to about 176 deg. Take the milk off the heat immediately and add the vinegar.
Stir until curds form and the whey has separated. Pour the curds and whey in the prepared cheesecloth lined bowl. Gather the ends and suspend to drain for about 15 minutes. The longer you let it drain, the firmer it will be. The less you let it drain, the softer it will be.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few days. Use in a variety of dishes.
Savory: Try rubbing the toasted bread with a garlic clove and topping it with some fresh ricotta and sprinkling some fresh sea salt, some good olive oil and any fresh herbs/chives along with a touch of pepper. I love adding some sundried tomatoes...or tapenade, etc. The variations are endless...
The ultimate combination...Ricotta, honey and orange zest. YUM!
Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta: adapted from Food52. An interesting combination ...but definitely worth a try. I really liked it.
You will need:
toasted bread slices
a garlic clove,cut in half( this is optional, though it isn't strong, but I liked it)
1. Rub cut garlic clove on one side of the toasted bread.
2. Spread a bit of ricotta on top of the toasted bread.
3. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
4. Drizzle with some olive oil.
5. Drizzle with a bit of honey.
6. Top with a finely grated orange peel.
Variation: skip the garlic and olive oil and simply enjoy it with some honey and orange peel.