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Homemade Ricotta Cheese: Two Ways

August 8, 2011


A little while ago, Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for creamy homemade ricotta cheese, and within minutes her post was bookmarked for my food to-do list. While she went into some detail about how this recipe compares to the tradition method of ricotta cheese-making (it is typically made using the whey byproduct of other Italian cheeses), she also boasted about how rich and creamy this version is. I have no problem using a shortcut method if the result is as good as hers looked (and boy, it sure was!). This ricotta is almost more cream cheese-like in texture, with a very fine curd, and is fantastic as a spread for hors d’oeuvres; which is precisely what I did with it. The flavor is light, with a hint of lemon, but add just a sprinkle of salt, and the real magic happens! I highly recommend trying this at home, as it was so easy and takes all of 20 minutes to prepare, aside from letting it sit for an hour.

I used mine to spread on toasted slices of baguette and topped it two ways: One sweet, one savory. For the sweet version I used a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, shmear of ricotta, fresh strawberry and a sprig of mint. For the savory I made some roasted cherry tomatoes to top my cheese, and finished it white truffle oil and sea salt. I’d never made roasted tomatoes before, but after this weekend it is definitely going to be making repeat appearances! But I must warn you, as I was unprepared for this, the whole first floor of my house became very smoky during the roasting process, so I recommend you step out of the kitchen while your tomatoes cook. However, the result is well worth the fuss, because these little gems come out so juicy, rich and sweet, you will wish you made more! I must confess this savory bruschetta was so good, that I proclaimed (as we were watching No Reservations), that I would feed this to Anthony Bourdain with confidence!

Ricotta Cheese (via Smitten Kitchen), Makes about 1 generous cup of ricotta

  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Cheese Cloth

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190°F, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. If you want an even thicker texture, you can leave it for another hour, but it will thicken after you refrigerate it. Discard whey and refrigerate your ricotta cheese until ready to serve.

For Sweet Bruschetta

  • Sliced Baguette, lightly toasted
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Homemade Ricotta Cheese
  • Fresh Sliced Strawberries
  • Fresh Mint Leaves

For Savory Bruschetta

  • About 24 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 4 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • Sliced Baguette, lightly toasted
  • Homemade Ricotta Cheese
  • White Truffle Oil
  • Fine Sea Salt

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange your tomato halves, cut side up, on the sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the salt, sugar and minced garlic evenly over the tomatoes and bake for 20 minutes. They will appear burnt on the bottom, but have no fear that’s just the caramelization and you will only taste the sweet deliciousness of the tomatoes. Remove from pan and let cool. Spread ricotta on your baguette slices, drizzle with the truffle oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Top with roasted tomatoes and enjoy!



13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2011 1:16 pm

    Just bought a ravioli rolling pin (see those yet?) and am excited to make my own homemade raviolis. 🙂 I will, of course, need ricotta! 🙂 Yay for easy recipes! And I have all these ingredients on hand!

  2. August 8, 2011 8:33 pm

    I’ve been meaning to make my own ricotta — thanks for the reminder! This looks really good, especially the sweet bruschetta. Delicious!

  3. August 9, 2011 3:48 pm

    Yum! I’m so going to try this. I just got a ricotta and mozzarella “kit’ on Etsy. Looks so good!

  4. August 15, 2011 5:20 am

    Thanks for sharing will try this one at home

  5. August 18, 2011 8:26 pm

    I love the balsamic vinegar and strawberry combo. But, both the sweet and savory look delicious! At least for me, ricotta is one of those things that I never think about making, but this post really tempts me!

    By the way, I wanted to invite you to participate in the Seven Links Challenge ( All your recipes look delicious and I thought this would be a great way to remember the best!

    • August 19, 2011 9:28 am

      That challenge sounds fun! I’ll try to get to it soon, unfortunately I’ve been so busy lately I’ve barely been able to check into the blog world these days!

  6. September 22, 2011 2:32 pm

    Thanx so much, you’re really an expert, when you know how to make cheese. My grema, made it all the time, but my mom and i don’t know how, and we always just sit beside her and taste the cheese, but have never took a risk and try to make it on our own. But i”’ try this, by following your steps 🙂 and also, the good thing is that i found way to make it at home, and not buy it, cause it’s very expensive in my country. I think that box of 200 grams costs 5e, and for my country which not produce it, it very, very expensive.

    Good job for you 🙂

  7. March 5, 2014 8:10 pm

    looks delicious! Cheese is my favorite food group…can’t wait to try this myself.

  8. March 5, 2014 8:12 pm

    Also….I’m posting a link to this on my blog. Your site is beautifully designed. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Deb Weyrich-Cody permalink
    February 27, 2015 4:43 pm

    Oh Allison, are you still making your own ricotta? Please don’t just “discard the whey”.
    Here are just a couple of references to whey from the Alive(dot)com [healthy living] website…
    1) “Whey makes a delicious healthy drink. You may also save the whey (in fridge) for use in other recipes, such as making Sauerkraut or to bake bread.” 2) “Whey is the liquid remaining after making kefir, quark or cheese. Instead of throwing it out, use it to substitute liquids in baking, stir it into refreshing summer drinks or add it to soups for added nutrition and a slightly sour taste.” Bon appétit! Deb


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