Impress your friends with this easy cheese recipe! Traditionally, ricotta goes back millennia and was regarded as a poor man's cheese. It means 're-cooked' in Italian. To make ricotta, people would reboil whey, which is the liquid leftover from making other types of cheese. The remaining proteins in the whey clump together and rise to the top in a process called the 'flowering' of the ricotta. To see how they do it in Italy, check out these pictures from Joey's trip to an Italian farmstay where she learned how to make ricotta at a shepherd's farm!
If you're a beginner, it's much easier just to buy the following ingredients instead of reheating whey from making a more advanced cheese. Once you try this recipe, you may never want to buy ricotta from the supermarket again!
1L homo milk
1L half & half cream
1 tsp sea salt
large pot, silicone spatula
1 piece cheesecloth (can be washed and reused after!)
fine mesh strainer, colander, deep metal bowl
Line a colander with cheesecloth and place on top of metal bowl.
Pour milks into a pot and put on medium-high heat. Add salt and occasionally stir milk gently, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to avoid scorching.
Once you see it begins to curdle and separate from the liquid, gently move the cheese from the outside of the pot towards the middle without breaking up the curds too much. Repeat until the water is less milky looking and you have a good amount of curd (but don't wait too long or you can overcook it).
Use a fine mesh strainer to scoop cheese onto the cheesecloth. If the strainer gets clogged up with cheese just scrape the cheese into the cloth with your spatula. Repeat until all the cheese is collected from the pot.
Let it strain for about 5 min. At this point the cheese will still be hot and start to firm up. Break it up with a fork.
Cool in fridge or eat warm with added toppings.
This recipe will feed 6 snackers or 4 hungry diners. Store ricotta in fridge for up to 6 days.
Suggestions for Toppings & Uses:
Sweet - orange zest, lemon, cinnamon, honey, maple syrup, orange liqueur, berries, toasted nuts
Serve in crepes, sprinkled on desserts, alongside fruit, with fig jam on bread, use in cheesecake, cannoli
Savory - chives, dill, parsley, basil, thyme, black pepper, paprika, olive oil, balsamic vinegar
Serve with fresh bread & crackers, in crepes, lasagna, frittatas, pasta, sprinkled on salad, pizza, soup
What to do with the leftover liquid whey?
make soup, sauces, protein drinks, bake, cook rice, basically any kind of cooking that uses water
sprout seeds and grains
use it with salt to ferment veggies
feed your garden or animals
1 cup cashews soaked overnight
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp mustard
splash of apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper
blender or food processor, spatula
Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor and taste. Add more water if you want a creamier texture.
Cashew cheese is similar to making pesto, in that you can adjust the recipe according to your taste until you're happy with what you've got. You could also replace the water with almond milk, or add tahini, white wine, spices, oils, herbs, onion powder, whatever you want!
Serve with crackers & bread, smear on toast, use it to make sandwiches or savory crepes. We heard that you can even heat it up in the oven before serving to make it firm on the outside and gooey on the inside...
Cashew cheese will firm up in the fridge and last for up to one week.