Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Making cheese

Luisa from the Wednesday Chef recently made ricotta. I have said this before and I shall say it again - when she recommends a recipe, I think you should listen. I did, anyway, and made ricotta tonight, using sheep's milk as she suggested. Who would have thought making cheese could be so laughably easy? Heat milk and buttermilk, wait for curds to form, ladle curds into a cloth-lined sieve and let drain. There. Ricotta. Truth be told, I never understood while many cooks/food bloggers dislike shop-bought ricotta quite so much. Maybe the ricotta widely available here is of better quality than in most other countries or maybe my tastebuds do not know about ricotta, anyhow, I quite like the creamy kind that comes in the tubs - in pound cakes instead of butter or spread onto toasted bread, with a large spoonfull of homemade (by my mother) jam. I do realise, however, that it does not lend itself well to all the interesting things one can do with ricotta, it is too creamy and sweet for that. The homemade ricotta turned out much firmer and drier and it crumbled when sliced. The taste was very mellow, bordering on bland (in a good way - think of it as a canvas for other foods). The use of sheep's milk I cannot comment seeing I never tried the cow's milk variety. I ate my ricotta on toasted bread with a little sea salt and a drizzle of my finest italian olive oil to accompany saut├ęd zucchini seasoned with nothing but salt, pepper, a splash of lemon juice and chopped oregano. A lovely summer dinner, great for hot days or when you try to eat lightly with the upcoming first fitting of your wedding dress and the effects of two weeks worth's of spanish food on your mind.

No need for me to retype the recipe, just the measurements I used, in case you're a metric girl/guy, too: half a litre of sheep's milk and 2dl of buttermilk will yield a roughly fist-sized ball of ricotta (about half the quantity of the recipe on the Wednesday Chef.)

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