I love good cheese, but dishing out nearly Rs. 500 for Ricotta in these times of fluctuating, skyrocketing prices for basic veggies just seems to be burning a hole in my pocket! I’ll loosely borrow from Heston Blumenthal’s appearance on MasterChef Australia, when he said that we eat with our senses, implying that the look and smell of food before the all-important first bite can’t be overlooked. Surely, that must extend to our shopping for food too, right? What good could possibly come from a woeful trip to the supermarket in times when you are dishing out unpredictable amounts of money for everyday food? This recipe is my attempt to help convert our food shopping woes to ‘wows’ (I’m a poet, I don’t know it)!
Given our long-standing tradition of making paneer, I find that cheese-making comes naturally to us in India. And, really, you’ll find Ricotta as easy to make as paneer and might even want to high-five me for reminding you of this. It’s a time efficient recipe too! Have I qualified for a hug yet? Ooops, I must give you the recipe first!
Unlike paneer, ricotta requires a combination of milk and cream to be curdled. I went with 3 cups of full cream milk 2/3rd cup of Amul cream with 25% fat because of how easily available it is. Getting a sieve ready for draining the cheese is the first step. I lined the sieve with 2 layers of muslin cloth, but cheesecloth works well too. Place this over a deep bowl. Stir together the milk, cream and salt in a large non-reactive pan over medium –high heat. Use a wooden spoon to stir it (not too often) just to keep it from sticking to the bottom. I used a food thermometer to bring it up to a temperature of 94 degrees Celsius and then took it off the heat completely and quickly added 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and stirred it gently and then let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. You will see that the curdling happens fairly quickly and once that’s completely done, drain it over the sieve. Letting it rest for about 60 minutes will give you a slightly dense ricotta, but in my case, at the 90 minute mark I was left with the soft, crumbly texture I was looking for. If you are looking for a creamy, spreadable ricotta, I reckon cream with a higher fat content should do the trick. If you do try that, give me a shout!
Yields about 308 grams of Ricotta.