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Fresh Ricotta Cheese
(recipe, Robert Reynolds, Vitaly Paley, Kimberly Paley)
If the restaurant had a motto, it might be: "If we can make it better, we will." After trying several commercial brands of ricotta without ever really being satisfied with their flavor and texture, we made it ourselves. It proved a worthy experiment; it had the creamiest of textures with just the right balance of flavors.
If you ever thought about making your own cheese, this is the easiest one to start with. A watchful eye and a well-calibrated instant-read thermometer are the only tools you'll need.
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pinch of kosher salt
- In a nonreactive saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and lemon juice, and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture reaches 205 degrees. (Remember, cheese-making is a science, and temperature is crucial.) Remove from the heat and let rest for about 15 minutes, during which time the curds and whey separate.
- Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set over a bowl. Ladle the curds (the ricotta cheese) into the strainer to drain the whey. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and let drain overnight.
- Discard the whey and wipe the bowl dry. Transfer the ricotta to the bowl. Stir in the salt, cover tightly, and refrigerate until needed.
Ricotta will keep well refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.