I like to experiment in the kitchen. I even dream of spending a few uninterrupted months between the kitchen counter tops and my writing desk some day, to wonder and create recipes so simple that happiness is the only option when making them. In my vision, my pantry is filled with the bright colors of fruit jams, Mason jars filled with endless variations on simple tomato sauce and preserved vegetables from a garden of all seasons. Intent upon reaching that kind of happiness on a daily basis, I try “old-fashioned” recipes when I have a moment to spare, like the making of fresh ricotta.
Since I like to make subtle additions to something basic, I let a sprig of rosemary and a lemon peel soak in the milk before cooking it. Ricotta can be made with any kind of milk, including coconut milk! The result is decidedly different than store-bought ricotta and takes just a few minutes to make.
- one liter of full fat cow . sheep . or goat’s milk
- a quarter of a slice of one organic lemon and its juice
- a sprig of rosemary or thyme
- a touch of sea salt
Let the sprig of fresh rosemary and piece of lemon peel soak in the milk for a bit — anywhere between a half an hour or overnight in the refrigerator. Cover a fine-meshed sieve with a clean piece of linen or cheese cloth and suspend the sieve in a large bowl. Remove the rosemary and lemon peel from the milk. Squeeze the juice of the lemon.
Put the milk into a sauce pan and bring it to a slow boil. Add the lemon juice and stir it with a wooden spoon on low heat until the milk begins to curdle. Pour the milk into the linen covered sieve and let it cool before putting it into the refrigerator. Cover the ricotta with the corners of the linen cloth so it won’t dry out while draining.
The ricotta is smooth and creamy within the hour – perfect for summer really. For a thick and crumbly ricotta, allow it to drain four to eight hours. Use the pale yellow liquid in the bowl to make a soup with a slightly creamy undertone.
Serve the creamy ricotta with fresh fruit instead of yoghurt for breakfast or dessert. Use the thick ricotta to fill grilled eggplant slices filled with fresh basil leaves.
To make coconut milk ricotta follow the above-mentioned instructions, leaving out the sea salt. Drain the twice-cooked coconut milk at least four hours before using since it takes longer for the liquid to separate from the milk.
This recipe was first published in Dutch on my weekly blog for jamie magazine nl.