Chef Matt Conroy makes this recipe for his restaurant Virginia’s in NYC. Virginia’s likes to serve their ricotta on sourdough with golden beets, satsuma marmalade and a red mustard green and sorrel flower garnish.
A few weeks ago, I saw a ricotta cheese demo and decided to try it at home. You won't want store-bought ricotta again when you realize how easy it is to make.Anne Saxelby, of Saxelby Cheesemongers made a ricotta in front of a live audience — and in only 20 minutes — at the sold out "Lopate and Locavores Agri + Culture: Cheese", which aired on WNYC. The warm, sweet and slightly lemony curds of delicious local milk taste great alone or in a recipe. Ingredients are particularly important in cheesemaking. Minimally pasteurized milk works better than the ultra pasteurized brands at producing robust curds. Being the locavore that I am, I chose Hudson Valley Ronnybrook Farms milk for its extra creamy cow-to- table freshness and grass-fed flavor. In a heavy pot, slowly heat the milk over medium heat to 170 degrees stirring occasionally to minimize scorching on the bottom of the pan. When the temperature reaches 170 degrees stop stirring and add lemon juice -- an acidifier -- to coax the milk to curdle separating the curds that become ricotta from the liquid whey. At this stage, continue to heat the milk but do not stir as stirring will cause the curds to break.For my first effort I used lemon juice to activate the curds which is what Anne used in her demo. Other acidifiers for home chefs include buttermilk, which is way too sour for my palette, and distilled vinegar. At 190 degrees, the curds will be totally separated from the whey. Remove the pot from the heat, and using a slotted spoon, gently begin removing curds to a colander lined with cheesecloth. This cheesecloth was folded over to create four layers. After all the curds have been removed, allow them to drain. For a creamy warm ricotta, drain 5 minutes, for a firmer but still creamy cheese, drain for 15 minutes. And for the firmest cheese, drain an hour. If desired, gather the edges of the cheesecloth and gently squeeze to remove any excess liquid. Serve warm or refrigerated for up to several days.
Every Saturday during spring, summer, and fall, Barry and I walk over for lunch at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene — part antiques market, part junk sale, part craft fair, part artisanal food court. It's also great people-watching; aside from a reliably cute crew of scruffy Brooklynites and international tourists, celebs ranging from Martha Stewart to Michael Stipe are regularly spotted poking through the treasures. But the real action for us is in the well-curated street food: fabulous Salvadorian pupusas (thick corn tortillas stuffed with pork, beans, and cheese), brick-oven pizza, sandwiches of brisket and porchetta, and my favorite, approximated here, from Brooklyn's own Salvatore Ricotta. This is a quick and perfect treat, an ideal use for homemade ricotta.
See all bruschetta recipes.