Tuesday, 14 June 2011

I made ricotta!

"If you squeeze half a lemon into a pan of warm milk, you'll make ricotta!" I still remember my mother telling me that and encouraging me to experiment with food. If only she had known that, when everyone was asleep, in the afternoon, I would climb onto the side of the bath, quietly open the medicine cabinet and, having got hold of my dad's heart tablets, I would undertake experiments of my own ( tablets, compost and soap, tablets and shaving foam... you name it, I mixed it!)
Anyway... after I squeezed a lemon into my warm milk, this would separate into curds and whey and the solid, but soft curds you could eat. I have to say that the stuff we bought from the shops was much nicer: soft, fluffy ricotta cheese!
I made ricotta, today, and I am quite pleased with the end result. My ricotta looks quite good. It's not as creamy as I would have liked, but I'm sure that, mixed with chopped chives and a tablespoon of yogurt, it will make a delicious topping for my bruschetta, today. And who knows what else we can make!
Let's make ricotta! It's really easy and very quick to make. According to some recipes, you should use a thermometer, to check the milk temperature before removing from the heat, but... if like me you don't have one, all you do is you take the milk off the heat before it begins to bubble up and boil.
The recipe below makes about 150 g of ricotta. You can double the amounts if you like.
Ricotta Cheese
Makes 150 g (5 oz)
1 l (about 2 pt) whole milk
70 ml (2 1/2 fl oz) distilled or white wine vinegar
large pinch of salt
chopped chives
(double thickness)
Place your milk and  in a stainless steel pan, or a heavy non-reactive pan, on medium heat. Stir briefly, then allow the milk to heat up gently. After a few minutes, you will notice that a few tiny bubbles will begin  to appear on the surface. If you have a thermometer, check the milk temperature: 180 degrees is the temperature you are aiming for. If, like me, you don't have a thermometer ( surprise, surprise!) just watch your milk, because as soon as it looks as if it might begin to boil, you need to take the pan off the heat, add the vinegar and salt, then stir. Immediately the curd and the whey will separate. Magico!
You can leave the pan to stand for an hour or so. When the ricotta has rested for one or two hours, take your two sheets of cheesecloth, dampen them and place inside a colander.
Ladle out the ricotta into the prepared colander. Place the colander with your ricotta inside a larger pan so it can drain. I let mine drain for about one hour. By this time my cheese was looking like "real" ricotta! MIRACLE!  And tasted delicious! To make my ricotta creamy, I added two tablespoons of plain yogurt.
As you will see from the pictures, I mixed my cheese with chopped chives, which I spread on bruschetta and, just remembering something my mother used to make, I cooked some pasta shells, drained and served it blended with the rest of my ricotta and chives and Parmesan cheese. It was good and delicate.

 I added chives and plain yogurt

Pasta e ricotta

Bruschetta con ricotta e erba cipollina


  1. Anna! I was told the best cheese is made with non-homogenised milk, as the pressure treatment used to break down the butterfat globules adversely affects the proteins in the milk that are needed to bond to make cheese. I would love you to try this recipe with Nortons milk, which is not homogenised... ; )

  2. Hi Emily! No reason why we couldn't try. Maybe I could get some milk from the farm, tomorrow. If we go near the farm shop, that is, and try! I would like that.

    See you tomorrow

  3. Anna - thank you for the recipe. I did not know how ricotta was made. How interesting and easy. It looks yummy - I would love some of the pasta you showed. Ciao Bella

  4. Ciao Helen! It was the first time I made ricotta "properly" and really just for the blog, and for fun. And I had a lot of fun! I wanted to try and I failed, on Monday, as I let the milk boil and ended up with cream cheese! But I enjoyed myself and my cream cheese tasted better than the stuff you buy, on baguette.
    You can try the pasta dish if you like: you only need ricotta and some Parmesan. I like to "dilute" my ricotta with some of the water in which my pasta was cooked... it makes it more creamy. That's what my mamma used to do.
    A presto

  5. Hello Anna,
    That does look fun and I must try for myself. I was remineded my Mother making cottage cheese when we used to stay in our cottage up in Scotland. She used to drain it through an old net curtain!
    Thank you for the inspiration and lovely photos as usual,

  6. You must make it, Jane! It really is fun!


  7. Anna! That's my mamma's name!
    I think my favourite cheese is ricotta! I like to eat it warm from the pot, over crusty italian bread and some sugar! Did you ever do that growing up?
    It's so nice to meet a fellow Italiana! Come by and visit with me...

    I'm your newest follower, btw!

    Ciao Bella!


  8. How wonderful Anna, I had no idea that ricotta was so simple to make. I must give it a try. Thankyou so much for visiting and leaving lovely comments. I am sorry but comments don't appear on my blog until I moderate them and I haven't been on the computer since yesterday morning. I have hopefully changed the setting now so that the comments go straight on. Apologies for the inconvenience, love Linda x

  9. Oh my goodness what a terror you were. :) My apologies for making you feel homesick with my latest post, but at least you have your trip home to look forward to.

  10. Carmelina... yes, when I was a little girl I would sometimes eat a panino filled with ricotta and some sugar. I had forgotten about that! Real fresh ricotta (the stuff you can only buy in Italy) is so good! Last Summer I had ricotta made from buffalo milk. Truly creamy and full of flavour!Can't wait to eat it again!

    Nice to meet you, too, Carmelina!I ilke your blog.
    A presto!

  11. Linda... I was really puzzled when I was trying to put just one comment on your post about coffee and it vanished! I feel silly, now! I just kept trying and trying... oh, no!
    Anyway! I truly enjoy reading your blog... it's so charming and just nice!