How homemade IS everything at Maui Pasta? "Well, we even make our own ricotta cheese!" was my common response! Starting up a business on Maui made me very creative with how far I could push my "scratch kitchen" because of the high food costs there... so as I was starting my pasta business, I decided to give homemade ricotta-making a try! It really IS shockingly simple to make your own ricotta cheese! There are a lot of different techniques out there, so I thought I would share my tried-and-true method.
All you need is a gallon of milk and a cup of white distilled vinegar... that's it! A few other tools will be helpful as well - a pot that will hold a gallon of milk, a thermometer, a whisk, and a couple of strainers.
Next, you pour the milk into the pot, and put the heat on high. You'll want to occasionally stir, making sure that the whisk scrapes the bottom of the pot as you go. But when the temperature reaches 150 degrees, it is time to constantly stir. This is because as the milk heats, the proteins in the milk separate and can stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
As the temperature rises, you'll see more and more bubbles forming along the edge of the pot as the milk heats up. Keep stirring and scraping! Measure out EXACTLY one cup of distilled white vinegar - one cup for each gallon you are boiling - and when the temperature of the milk hits 195 degrees, stir the hot milk one last time (then no more stirring!), then slowly pour the vinegar into the almost-boiling milk.
Now is the fun time to watch the milk transform! Turn the heat down to medium-low, and before your eyes you will see the texture change to a surface that looks like the moon! Keep the heat on for a minute or two after you've added the vinegar, until you see little foamy bubbles form on the surface, and now it is time to remove your pot from the heat, and let it sit for 20 minutes to help the curds form.
From there, simply use one handheld strainer to transport the curds to a cullendar and let them drain for a half hour.
Fresh ricotta cheese, anyone?
If you add a little cream and put it in a food processor, you will have the creamiest, smoothest fresh ricotta cheese to spread on crostini! Or, use straight from the cullendar on your next lasagna project!
Enjoy everyone! Thanks,