~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fresh Homemade Ricotta....and Bruschetta Recipe

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)
fresh ricotta
olive oil
orange zest


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.


Sailaja Damodaran said...

Turned out great...... we call it as Paneer in India.

Mihaela said...

Ellie, ricotta ta arata asa de bine. Am incercat si eu odata dar nu am stiut si am folosit lapte 2% si nu intelegeam de ce nu se branzeste, apoi mi-a spus mama (mama le stie pe toate, nu?:)) ca nu a avut deajus grasime. Sigur o sa mai incerc si eu alta data. Numai bine, Mihaela

M Family said...

whoo hoo, thanks Ellie, this is going into my need to make file! :D

Pushpa said...

Yummy fresh homemade ricotta,love the toast...

Pushpa @ simplehomefood.com

Bergamot said...

Nice article...having made paneer earlier, I know it's simple but the ingredients to get soft ricotta is important. The ricotta you made looks really soft and how it should be.

Ellie said...

Sailaja, Thank you!...

Mihaela, Da, mama mereu stie mai bine:)! Si cu drag ma lasa sa invat chiar si cand eu cred ca stiu mai bine....ca dupa aceia sa ii dau dreptate:). Am observat ca branza este mult mai buna cu un pic grasime:)...sper sa incerci din nou. Numai bine.

M Family. Yes, we love the homemade ricotta. I confess, I am not such a big fan of store-bought. But this one I enjoyed immensely. Hope you can give it a try.

Pushpa, Thank you... yes, the toast was simple, yet so good:).

Bergamot, Thank you for the really kind compliment. I agree that the ingredients are quite important in making a creamy ricotta... which is why I opted for the addition of the half and half. Also, the amount of time you allow the cheese to drain is just as important. If you let it drain too long it will be much firmer. But then again you can always add some of the whey back in:). Thanks for stopping by.~Ellie

PJ Day said...

Wow that was easy to make. And so good. Thanks for sharing this recipe. 8-)

Ellie said...

Veronica, Thank you for the feedback...So very glad you tried it and liked it:). It really is quite simple to make ...and so delicious.
Thanks for stopping by. ~Ellie

Craig E. Martin said...

Hello, Ellie:

WOW -- you've taken a good thing, and made it better! I love the addition of the half and half - and thank you for the cross-reference on your page!

Ellie said...

Craig, It is I who should thank you for bringing the idea up...so very glad you mentioned it to me!

Absolutely loved it!

The half-half really does add a wonderful, smooth taste:)...

minibaker said...

I would really like to make my own ricotta and just came across your recipe. the only problem is i cannot get half and half where i live. is there anything i can replace it with? thank you.

Ellie said...

Minibaker, Thanks for stopping by. Yes, you can use heavy cream instead of the half-half....use 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup whole milk to give you the equivalent of 1 cup half and half.
You can also just use whole milk, though it won't be as creamy. It is best to use pasteurized whole milk ...not ultra-pasteurized. You'll get a better yield and better curd formation. Hope that helps.

Traveller said...

thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes.inspired and made me happy.excited to try the cheese as it is difficult to find it in the stores here.keep up the good work and stay inspired.

Ellie said...

Traveller, You are most welcome:)... so glad I could be of help. Thanks for your kind words and am thrilled you stopped by. Enjoy your visit here and hope you like some of the recipes I've posted. This cheese is sooo good and it's not difficult to make... and it's better than the store bought:).

Have a great day!

Dan said...

Buna Ellie,
Am gasit o reteta pe internet pentru placinta cu branza si ma gandeam sa o fac, dar am o intrebare. Reteta cere branza de vaca si telemea de vaca. Eu nu inteleg diferenta (nu sunt specialist in branzeturi) si ce fel de branza pot folosi din piata noastra in State?

Dan (cel care a esuat de nemumarate ori la facutul micilor, LOL!)

Ellie said...

Dan, Sa sti ca nici eu nu sant specialista in branzeturi:)... dar cred ca cel mai apropriat term ari fi cottage cheese pentru branza de vaci. Acum depinde de reteta, cum o folosesti... nu stiu daca trebuie sa o scurgi nitel de zer sau sa o folosesti asa cum vine. Daca se gaseste unde locuiesti tu, poate si Quark Cheese are fi ok.

Telemeua eu asi zice ca este feta cheese.

Sper ca am fost de ajutor... succes cu placinta de branza.

Eu fac placinta mea de branza... cu cottage cheese si feta cheese... and it's delicious:)


How much does this make. One cup ?

Ellie said...

Irish, As I mentioned in the note above ingredients... yield ia about 1- 1/2 cups, depending how much you allow the ricotta to drain. Hope that helps....