Back to Ina. In two months, I’ve completed around 50 recipes – not too shabby, but I’m going to need to step things into high gear if I plan on getting through every book in 12 months. I’m not going to lie – between trying to utilize leftovers, not spending a ridiculous amount of money every month, and the occasional meal out, it’s hard to knock a ton out in a week’s time. But I continue on – pounds of butter consumed and all.
I made homemade ricotta this weekend and as Ina as my witness, I will never purchase ricotta at a store again. I actually caught myself saying ‘yum’ aloud more than once during the process (which is sad, I know.) While Ina’s recipe for herbed ricotta brushettas doesn’t call for grapes & honey, I had them around and couldn’t resist.
Ina’s Homemade Ricotta:
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I tend to like mine on the thicker side, but some prefer it moister.) Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.
BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE! Once your ricotta is made, switch on over to Ina’s Herbed Ricotta Bruschettas:
2 cups ricotta
3 tablespoons minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 round sourdough bread
Good olive oil
1 whole garlic clove, cut in half
Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals or turn a gas grill to medium-high heat.
Combine the ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and set aside. Cut the bread in half and cut each half into 6 thick slices to make 12 slices total.
When the grill is hot, brush the bread with olive oil and grill on each side for 1½ to 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the grill and rub each slice of bread with the cut side of the garlic clove. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread with the herbed ricotta.