The Easiest Cheese

Recently, my friend Sarah and I tried our hands at making cheese.  We started simple, with the ricotta cheese recipe from 101 Cookbooks blog, and it turned out great.  Honestly, I was totally surprised how simple it was to make this cheese.  At this rate, I'm not sure I will ever buy it again. 

These are the curds we pulled off the top when the mixture reached 175 degrees.

Rather than using layers of cheese cloth, we used a thin, cotton towel.  We drained the cheese for about an hour, which turned out fine, but I think next time I will drain it for more like 30-40 minutes to keep it a little wetter.  Our high-tech cheese draining contraption using a series of rubber bands was genius!

I used my share of the ricotta to make ravioli.  Inspired by some beautiful lacinato kale, I made up a filling of ricotta, finely chopped blanched kale, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  I cheated a bit and used gyoza wrappers rather than making or buying fresh pasta sheets.

It was a fun project that generated a surprising number of ravioli -- at least 40.  After boiling some for four minutes, I tossed them in a quick shallot and yellow tomato sauce and shaved some parmesan reggiano on top. Quite delicious.

Given how easy this is, I find myself already scheming about my next batch of ricotta -- I think it will go into a sage and butternut squash lasagne.  I'll keep you posted.


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