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Making Ricotta

January 10, 2013

Sweet cheeses, why has it taken me so long to make my own ricotta? I really don't have a good answer other than perhaps fear of the unknown--and the fact that I don't keep cheesecloth around the house (should I?)--but now that I've done it I want to find a megaphone (I don't keep one of those around the house, either) and proclaim from the rooftops: "People, stop what you are doing and make cheese!" As those of you who have done it already know, homemade ricotta is a cinch to prepare. The recipe I followed calls for only milk, heavy cream, lemon juice, and salt, and requires the bare minimum of effort--just a bit of stirring, really. (Here's a great how-to video.) I'm not ashamed to say that when I made it last night, in a late-night cooking spree, I MacGyvered the draining step, using coffee filters instead of cheesecloth. I woke up this morning to a gorgeous cloud of heavenly white creamy deliciousness. Swirled with La Salamandra's dark chocolate dulce de leche on a toasted baguette, it made for a fabulously sweet start to my day (I'd like to think it had just the right amount of protein to give me a Doable Challenge-worthy breakfast boost, too). This afternoon, I tossed some with toasted pine nuts and honey, and I'm pretty sure I found the cure to the 3:00 blues. I'm tempted to make some of this butternut squash crostini tomorrow, or maybe some of these ricotta and sage fried meatballs, but I'd love to hear some of your suggestions. What should I do with the rest of my ricotta? Savory and sweet ideas appreciated--those involving chocolate are especially encouraged.

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