My friend Maggy, of Three Many Cooks, recently dubbed me the Queen of Ricotta. She's definitely onto something. Since first blogging the recipe a year and a half ago, it has been made in kitchens from coast to coast, and as far away as New Zealand.
I put up a pot at least once a week, and find many uses for it daily, from a simple bruschetta, drizzled with truffle honey, a dollop in steel cut oats and even a smear on pizza, speckled with bits of smoky bacon and roasted onions.
Rather than leave my mark with just one recipe for one meal, I'd like to know I'm part of my friends' and family's everyday eating habits when I can no longer cook for them myself. - Jennifer Perillo —Jennifer Perillo
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Jennifer Perillo. Known to friends as "Queen of Ricotta". Her Majesty of Dairy writes about life and food at http://www.injennieskitchen.com/ WHAT: Milky and luscious homemade ricotta
HOW: Buttermilk, whole milk and heavy cream. A pinch of salt. Wait. Strain.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This recipe makes the entire kitchen seem conquerable. With just one stir of the pot, and a few minutes of wait time you have actually made cheese! After the initial swell of pride fades, you're left with a good amount of one of the most versatile of refrigerator staples -- spread it on toast for breakfast, stir it into pasta at lunch, or enjoy it as its original Community Pick recipe-tester theediblecomplex does, spoonful by spoonful.
Add the ingredients to a 4-quart pot. Bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a deep bowl or pot.
Once the curds begin to separate from the whey (you'll see little specks of white bob to the surface), stir gently and set heat to the lowest setting (see NOTE). Cook for 2 more minutes, then remove pot from heat and set on an unlit back burner for at least 30 minutes, and up to one hour. (this will help the curds further develop).
Gently ladle the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer (this helps produce a fluffier, creamier curd, than pouring it into the strainer). When all the curds have been spooned into the bowl, pull the cheesecloth up the sides to loosely cover the ricotta in the strainer. Let sit for 10 minutes to drain (this will yield a very moist ricotta. If using for a cake recipe, you may want to let it drain longer for a drier consistency).
Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
NOTE: After making one to two pots of ricotta for a year, I've learned it likes to be left alone to produce the highest yield, so resist the temptation to stir it frequently once the curds begin to separate from the whey. One stir is enough, and if you're curious, you can dip the spoon in the pot once or twice to see how the curds are developing.
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and FoodNetwork.com. She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).