Yes, that's it in the photo above. Lisa's wonderful, home-made ricotta cheese tucked on top of Seckel pears with honey drizzled on top. There is nothing like the taste of home made ricotta, and Lisa discovered how simple it is to make.... Here's how:
First, heat up one gallon of whole milk in a stock pot to 200 F.
Next, measure out 2/3 cup of lemon juice (if using fresh, strain well) and 3-4 tablespoons of salt (depending on how mild or salty you want the ricotta) and set aside. Lisa tells me you can substitute the lemon juice for 1 teaspoon of citric acid if it's available.
Once the milk is up to temperature, add the salt and lemon juice and stir well for 1-2 minutes. You will see the curds start forming within a minute or so. Turn off the flame and set the pot on a cool burner and let sit for 10 minutes.
Curds form immediately after adding the salt and lemon juice.
After the ten minutes is up, it's time to strain the curds from the whey (the liquid left behind) and place the cheese into a mold of some sort. Lisa uses professional cheese molds she purchased on Amazon, but you can also place your curds into a large mesh strainer over a bowl, or into a fine weave cheesecloth lining a small bowl or measuring cup. (If using cheesecloth, you need to tie it into a sort of sack using twist ties, then hang it somewhere to drain). You should get about 4 cups of ricotta from this recipe.
Fully formed curds after a 10 minute rest.
Placing the curds into cheese molds
Alternate method: Cheesecloth mold hung from a faucet
Lisa placed the curds into her cheese molds and left them on the edge of our stainless steel sink's draining ramp. She also uses a small meat pounder on top to help gently press the whey out.
The cheese molds draining
After several hours of drying (or overnight if you prefer), you will have a delicious, creamy, luscious ricotta to enjoy in recipes, on pizza, with fruit or on a bagel for breakfast. The taste is amazing--and this is coming from someone who never liked ricotta--that is, until Lisa starting making it fresh.
If you decide to try making your own ricotta, please check back and tell us how it tasted. Ciao!
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