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italian essentials: easy/peasy ricotta cheese

Recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

LASAGNA, BAKED ZITI, ITALIAN MEATBALLS, there are so many applications for using ricotta. Some folks are not fans of this strictly Italian cheese, but maybe… just maybe it is because the only experience you have had with it is from the store-bought variety. I grew up on Aunt Josephine’s homemade ricotta, and it is leaps-and-bounds above store-bought. This is not some secret recipe; it is just a good-tasting, homemade ricotta. Used this tonight in a yummy lasagna. Good Stuff. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

yield serving(s)
prep time 10 Min
cook time 8 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For italian essentials: easy/peasy ricotta cheese

  • 1 qt
    fresh milk, full fat
  • 1 Tbsp
    heavy cream
  • 1 tsp
    salt, kosher variety, fine grind
  • 2 - 2.5 Tbsp
    lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp
    ground fennel
  • 1 lg
    egg yolk

How To Make italian essentials: easy/peasy ricotta cheese

  • 1
  • 2
    You will need a saucepan, a mesh sieve, and some cheesecloth to make this recipe.
  • 3
    Ground Fennel Aunt Jo used to call this her “secret” ingredient, and I loved the slight hint of earthy, licorice it gave to the cheese. If that is not your thing, just leave it out.
  • 4
    Egg Yolk Many chefs add an egg yolk to the ricotta, if it is going to things like lasagnas, or a baked ziti. It helps to hold the cheese together while it is baking.
  • 5
    Lemon Juice The best acid for this recipe is freshly-squeezed lemon juice; however, if you do not have any on hand, you could use the same amount of plain white vinegar.
  • 6
    Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  • 7
    Mix the milk, cream, and salt together in a saucepan over medium heat, and allow to get just below the boiling point, about 200f/93c. Take off the heat, add the lemon juice, stir to combine, then let sit for about 10 minutes, while the milk curdles.
  • 8
    If you have a good thermometer, use it to get an accurate reading.
  • 9
    Place a sieve into a large bowl, line with cheesecloth, and pour in the mixture. Allow the liquid to drain away, and the longer you allow it to drain, the dryer the ricotta will be. This could be from 10 – 45 minutes.
  • 10
    Store in a sealed container until needed. It should last 7 – 10 days.
  • 11
  • So Yummy
    Use in all kinds of Italian dishes, or just spread on some toast. Enjoy
  • Stud Muffin
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.