Ricotta Cheese

I’ve been on a quest to locate Polly-O Ricotta Cheese since my 2 local grocery stores stopped carrying it.  They said it was too expensive, and nobody would buy it, but I live in an area with a high percentage of Italian-Americans and we like our Polly-O.  I wouldn’t bother making my Mom’s lasagna recipe without it. 

Wegmans is now selling their own store brand, and so is Tops.  I tried them both, and they don’t remotely taste like Polly-O.  I want my Polly-O Ricotta Cheese.  For those of you who don’t live on the East Coast, I found that it can be mail ordered from www.netgrocer.com  Yippee!!!   I’m sure some of the small Italian import stores still carry it, so all was not lost for me. 

I was talking about buying some in aqua therapy (I chat with everyone while we’re exercising.) and had the good luck to be in the pool with a wonderful lady who told me she makes her own.   She is a cook at the Italian-American club.  Who better to know what is what with Italian cuisine?

Last night ,that’s exactly what I did.  It wasn’t hard.  This is how Angelina told me to make ricotta cheese:

Buy 1 gallon of whole milk and heat it in a double boiler till it is 190 degrees.  Stir while heating to make sure you don’t scorch the milk.

Remove it from the heat.

Stir in 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar and 1/2 to 1 tsp of salt.

Stir it, and it instantly separates.

Cover the pan and let it sit for a couple of hours.

Line a colander with muslin – I used 2 layers – and pour out the mixture.  Let it drain for an hour or two – depending on how condensed you like your ricotta.  I let mine drain for an hour. 

Voila, you have ricotta cheese.  Store in the fridge in a covered container, and it will keep for about a week.  My yield was about 1.5 pounds of ricotta cheese.

Today I’m baking lemon pecan ricotta bread, and tomorrow I might bake ricotta cookies, and the day after I might make baked 3 cheese ziti.  Next week, I’ll make cheese again and try making Italian style cheese cake.  I’m not sure about that as I dearly and purely love my heart attack on a plate, 3 containers of Philadelphia cream cheese dense cheesecake, but I won’t know if I like the Italian style cheesecake unless I try it.   Such sacrifices I make for all you loyal blog readers.  Doing all this taste testing for you.  LOL

I’m also going to experiment with adding different seasonings.  I have a little under 2 ounces of liquid hickory smoke in the house  (left over from making 7 pounds of venison jerky) and am wondering what smoked ricotta cheese would taste like???  And I’d like to try adding some dried basil from my garden for an herb infused ricotta cheese next. 

This is not hard, and while it does take some time, most of it is spent in waiting for it to cool, and then drain.  I can’t wait to infuse different ingredients during the cheese making process, and will be sure to share my favorites with you.  

No pictures this time, but I’ll most likely take some  when I make it again so all of you can see how each step should look.  

Hugs..

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