It all began with a bag of shelled green peas. I was thinking sautéed spring vegetables with pasta; the Italians call it primavera. But, I did not want to use traditional pasta such as linguine, penne, or tagliatelle. And, I had a yearning for some sort of fresh sauce, too, in lieu of a creamy one. The bag of peas held the answer to my quest. The Flavor Bible, which I frequently refer to, suggested peas, mushrooms and ricotta cheese. The aha moment was when my eyes read ricotta cheese. I have made fresh ricotta before but when I saw Serious Eats used the microwave to make their ricotta, I had to give it a bash.
The result? A simply luxurious-tasting cheese! So smooth and delicate there was little effort to slather the ricotta onto a grilled piece of sourdough bread. This was going to be the crowning glory for my pasta dish…I’ll share that recipe on my next posting.
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
To make the ricotta, line a large fine-mesh metal strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth large enough to hang over the edges. Set this over a large bowl. Pour milk and cream into a large pyrex measuring cup or glass bowl. Add sea salt and lemon juice; give it a quick stir. Place in microwave and cook on high 4 to 6 minutes until milk becomes steamy and frothy/bubbly around the edges (should read 185f on a thermometer).
Remove from microwave and give it a gentle stir. If curds haven’t separated, place back in the microwave and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Use a ladle and spoon cheese curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow to drain. When cooled to room temperature, scoop out cheese and place in a serving dish.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Ricotta will keep well, refrigerated, up to 1 week. The longer it stays in the fridge, the firmer it becomes. Enjoy!