I learnt about ricotta when I shed a few kilos at Weight Watchers a few years ago. Could not believe the fact that this amazing cheese could be a substitute in so many of my favourite dishes for cheddar, mozzarella and still serve up the cheesy, creamy goodness of a lasagna or a cheesecake.
Amazing substitute yes, but it’s not so amazing on the wallet especially when the family gobbles up those cheesecakes or when you must serve up a lasagna feast. So, I did what most good cooks do these days – ask Mom and then tweak the recipe (Ofcourse I didn’t go online to confirm what she was saying – how dare you think that!)
The point being, this ricotta is amazingly simple to make and is light both on the waist and the wallet – ingredients at the bottom as usual.
First, you pour in all the milk and the cream and bring it to a boil
Once the milk is about to boil over, take it away from the gas and let it cool for 5 mins. Add in the big scoopful’s of vinegar – you can also add lemon juice but that’s only if you plan on using the cheese for desserts and don’t mind the lemony flavour.
The acid in the vinegar will cause a reaction and the curds will separate from the whey. Scoop by scoop empty the curds into a colander lined with cheese-cloth or muslin. Let the liquid drain for atleast 2 – 3 hours.
Voila! You have yourself some ricotta.
This is the same method of making Indian paneer except the tweak being to add in fresh cream when boiling the milk to give it the creamy goodness of the ricotta. If you want to make this even more low-fat you can reduce the cream but I don’t recommend giving it a miss as otherwise your cake will taste of paneer and you will have to substitute with sugar instead.
Finally, if you are a perfectionist like me or if you are using the ricotta to serve as a side-dish with drinks, I recommend giving the cheese a quick blend in the mixer – using a little of the whey to dampen the cheese to make it smooth looking like the picture at the top.
To make about 650 gm ricotta you will need:
3 litres full fat milk
1.5 big serving spoons of vinegar
250ml fresh cream