Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How To Make Ricotta Cheese, Simple Recipe

Ricotta cheese is the easiest cheese to make.



I made this for lasagna. I used everything from my Pasta and Tomato Sauce recipe, just adding the ricotta and some cheese. I cut the pasta differently, into big squares, instead of little noodles. Turning Pasta and Tomato Sauce into lasagna brings it up to about $4.00, instead of $2.49, so I don't do it often. It is also more work. But it is one of my husband's favorites, so we occasionally do it in lieu of our the more basic meal.



I'm a little stingy on the ricotta, as I think it doesn't add much to the lasagna, but the mozzarella cheese I add generously. If you love ricotta, you might want to double this recipe.



Heat on low on the stove for ten minutes.



3 cups of milk - $0.48



Add 1/3 cup vinegar (maybe $0.05), and let heat for another ten minutes.



This is a picture of milk curdling. I'm not sure it is more appetizing in color, but if you click on it, you can see. Anyway, see how the milk is separating from the clear liquid around the edges? That's the idea. If the liquid is milky and not clear, add a few more tablespoons of vinegar, like three, and let it heat for ten more minutes.







Now, take a strainer and put some thin cheese cloth or cheese cloth like linen in it. Coffee filters will do, but you'll need a couple. The liquid is whey, which is good for milk in some recipes and also good for lacto-fermenting grains, if you do that (which I often do, but that is a whole other post). If you want to save it, put a large bowl underneath to catch the whey when you strain the curds.

The curds will need to be rinsed so that they don't taste like vinegar. Then, salt the curds. The curds are the ricotta cheese. I originally got this recipe from the Hillbilly Housewife, although she does hers with powdered milk. She has some amazing frugal recipes and tips, in case you haven't checked her out.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love Hillbilly housewife, your Lasagna sounds really good Emily :)

I'm not much of a cook, so I layer mine simply with ground beef mixed with sphaghetti sauce and cheese on top between the layers of lasagna noodles.........but you know my kids will gobble it down so it works.

Have fun with your three little men, my little men, Eric and Kyle are such a blessing in my life (life is certainly not dull with boys around that's for sure- even our dog Gizmo is a male- so I'm totally outnumbered here :)

Terry Lynn,
Ontario Canada

Captain Cleavage said...

mmmm ricotta cheese...seriously this is the one food I have been craving this pregnancy above all else! lol. I don't eat it "straight" bUT I do like to mix it with some freash herbs from my garden (parsley sage rosmary and thyme...because I am a slave to pop culture! lol)

thanks for the recipe! and congrats on the little one!

Luckymom4 said...

I had no idea it was so simple to make ricotta!I usually wait to buy it when it's on sale for half price. I am definitely going to try this! Hope you are resting and enjoying your new baby!

Pam said...

I have been using Hillbilly Housewife's recipes for several years. My favorite is her lentil chili...you barely know there is no meat in it! I'll have to try the ricotta...it would certainly make it less expensive to make lasagna, which is my husband's favorite too. I made your chili the other day, served over brown rice...excellent!

crabcakes said...

Can it be any kind of vinegar?

Emily said...

crabcakes, I use regular white vinegar. I'm sure you could use apple cider vinegar, but I would rinse it thoroughly to get the taste out of the ricotta.

McDorky said...

Just found this site and I really appreciate the super cheap meal options. Wishing we had a round crockpot instead of an oval one :) Will try making the noodles and ricotta for my hubby once illness has left my house.

And don't worry about naysayers. I am a teacher, and as long as kids are given good food, shelter, clean clothes and lots of love, reading and experiences, they turn out fine. Best thing you can do is talk to your kids about life, explain things to them as you do them, and read, read, read!

Thanks for putting yourself out there!

Devon said...

I hate ricotta...lolol...but I had never thought of making it, though. I never put it in my own lasagna-I just use regular cheese.

I'm Lori...and maybe I'm you, too. said...

As to the vinegar, you want something light. Using a sherry, red wine or a balsamic doesn't have the same acidity, and it makes for an ugly final product. Apple cider is okay, but this is really an instance where the cheap stuff is best. Most acidity with least color/taste impact.

Ricotta and fruit is also a great dessert I bet your kids would love, Emily. Stirring some stevia and mashed banana (or sliced banana) into it would be great. I like a scoop topped with sauteed apples or berries, almost like a sundae. Very yummy and good for you.

Heather said...

first things first...congratulations!

ok lasagna and cheeses. i have no idea how this would work with making it or if it is more frugal-but i prefer plain old cottage cheese instead of the ricotta. i don't much care for the texture of ricotta. and sometimes i use a half/half blend of the cheeses. usually just cottage cheese though.

is it easier and cheaper to make the cottage cheese?

Sarah said...

Hey, I love Hillbilly Housewife and never noticed that recipe! Thanks for the tip, I'll try this out next time we make lasagna. :]

Atheist Mama said...

Hmmmmmm.

I wonder if soy milk would do the same thing...probably not, lol.

I guess I'll just stick to my "tofu ricotta" :P

Anonymous said...

Are you making lasagna one day after giving birth? Wow!!!!

Jen

Emily said...

Jen, no, this was an old post that I had ready to go. I'm barely even writing after birth. (:

amulbunny said...

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

- John Quincy Adams


Try adding a little vanilla to the ricotta, it brightens it up a bit.

K said...

Do you have to use whole milk? What kind of milk are you using? (I usually only have skim, but I would like to try this!)

Katie said...

This sounds awesome. And so much cheaper than the ricotta at the store. Thanks for the tips

Emily said...

K, you can use any milk. When I did this the first time, I was using powdered, so skim should work fine.

Anonymous said...

I've never even thought of making my own ricotta cheese and can't believe how simple it seems! I only have powdered milk on hand so I'll head over to HH and check it out. Thanks :)

Melanie said...

Hey there! What kind of milk are you using for this? Raw milk? Unpasteurized? Or just regular cheapo supermarket milk?

Emily said...

Melanie, I use regular whole milk (haven't found a good price on raw yet), but you can use raw. This is an OLD technique from when everyone used raw milk.

KimC said...

Emily,
Do you remember how much ricotta you got from 3 cups of milk?
Is this "real" ricotta, or a homemade substitute? I'm eager to try it!

Emily said...

KimC, I believe I got 3/4 of a cup; I think it is a 3:1 ratio of cheese to whey. Real ricotta is made from the whey of other hard cheeses, so this is a "homemade substitute" but it is still worth a try. (:

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