Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Amateur Cheese Mongery

Right, so I have been wanting to make my own ricotta ever since I saw a tutorial on it in a holiday cooking mag that my friend lent me.  I've heard how stupidly easy it is, and with all of the additives and stabilizers in supermarket ricotta, it seems worth the effort to crank out some homemade.  After about an hour of early morning online searching over my cup of coffee, I found a recipe that I was willing to commit to.

My only concern then, was what would be done with all of the leftover whey, once the ricotta curds were done being strained out.  It seemed a waste just to toss it.  So I did a little more reading, and discovered that whey has all kinds of uses!  You can make breads with it, I can't even imagine how good biscuits could be, you can even poach chicken in it.  But that would have to wait until another blog.

So with ideas for the whey, and a batch of ricotta in my near future I chose two recipes to use it in.  Tonight: Bowtie Pasta with Italian Sausage, Roasted Tomatoes & Ricotta.  Tomorrow: stay tuned, same bat channel.

Oh look - an ingredient photo, two posts in a row!  Don't get spoiled.

Whisk 2 qt. milk, 1 c. cream, 1/2 c. yogurt, 1 Tbl. lemon juice, and 1 tsp. kosher salt in a pot over med-high heat until it simmers, stirring regularly.  It took me 15-20 minutes.  It felt like a whole lot of nothing, and then all of a sudden it curdled, just like it was supposed to.

Begin spooning the curdles into a strainer lined with 4 pieces of cheesecloth....ah, right...cheesecloth.  Well, if you are out of cheesecloth like I was, a paper towel works fine too.

Allow to drain for 15 minutes, or until the mixture is as dry as you like.

I ended up nixing the paper towel idea since my strainer seemed fine enough that the ricotta wouldn't go through.

It's beautiful!!  It will last in a Tupperware in your fridge for a couple of weeks, if you can resist eating it by the bowlful.  

Hello there whey, I'll see you in another post!

Roast Italian sausages @ 425 for 20 minutes, then slice thinly.

Roast a 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, olive oil, oregano, and SnP @ 425 for 10-15 minutes, or until the tomatoes seem to dry a little.

Cook the pasta and toss with the roasted tomatoes and sliced sausage.  Top with fresh ricotta, SnP, and fresh lemon zest.

Tomorrow....more ricotta usage.

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