By Rebecca Bent
This easy ricotta recipe comes from Ina Garten. I have used it countless times to make ricotta and every time it’s come out perfect. Fresh ricotta is a real treat on toast, and because tomatoes are abundant right now at the local farmers markets, this would be the perfect match. I also like to blend my favorite herbs right into the ricotta, moments before serving, or I opt for hand-torn basil sprinkled on top. Hand-torn basil is far more flavorful than chopped basil, plus it doesn’t turn brown (so think about that for presentation.)
Makes about 2 cups
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons good white-wine vinegar
Slices of good bread, toasted
Fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh basil, hand torn
Sea salt and dried herbs (optional)
Really good olive oil (if the toast feels too dry)
Coat a sieve with two layers of dampened cheesecloth and set aside. In a large enameled pot or stainless steel one, pour in the milk and cream and bring it to a boil over medium heat, stir in the salt. When it boils, turn off the heat and add in the vinegar and stir again. Allow everything to sit for 1 minute. You will start to see the milk and cream curdle. The curds will separate from the milks parts, which is called the whey.
Carefully pour the mixture through the cheesecloth lined sieve and into a bowl. It will take about 20 minutes to properly drain as it cools off. If the ricotta is sitting in whey, you can discard some of that liquid then set it back up to drain.
When it’s finished draining, transfer the ricotta to a clean bowl and use immediately. To store, cover it with a plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
Now prepare the toasted bread.
Consider these interesting combinations mixed into your fresh ricotta for added zest:
A sprinkle of ground curry
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly chopped rosemary and oregano
Paprika (for color)
A dash of hot sauce (this is a lot of fun, then dole out on fresh pasta)
Mashed roasted garlic (it’s awesome on everything)