Homemade Ricotta Cheese
In the 70’s and into the 80’s, cooking was a lot about shopping and assembly. In the 90’s and the aughts, certain ingredients became the sexy stalwarts of a new era of democratic cookery. Every dish had to have bacon in it, or boquerones, or Calabrian chiles. Now, everyone wants to know how to make their own bacon, cure their own boquerones and dry their own chiles from their garden.
So here is a great recipe for the hobbyist cooks out there: ricotta cheese. It’s easy to make, and there are so many ways to use it in your kitchen. I like to season it with honey and spicy chiles and schmear it on grilled bread. Remember, this is cheese, so you can season it any way you like. Have fun and get creative.
Fresh Ricotta with Red Chile & Honey
In a large saucepan, combine the milk with the heavy cream and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook over moderately low heat until a candy thermometer inserted in the mixture registers 175°, about 12 minutes. Gradually stir in the vinegar, then remove from the heat and let stand until the milk solids float to the surface, about 20 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer the milk solids to a cheesecloth-lined sieve set over a bowl. Let drain for 1 hour. Discard the liquid.
Transfer the fresh ricotta to a bowl and refrigerate until slightly chilled, about 30 minutes.
Fold the minced chile and 1 tablespoon of honey into the ricotta and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle honey on the ricotta and serve with grilled bread.
Originally published in Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.