Ricotta cheese is creamy, a must-have ingredient in lasagna. Since it is so expensive here in Bangkok, I decided to make my own. This recipe was adapted from Ina Garten whose recipe calls for heavy cream or cream that is more than 36% milkfat. I cannot find heavy cream here in Bangkok, or if it’s labelled heavy cream it has other things in it besides cream. I used whipping cream instead which is less than 36% milkfat. It’s available in the refrigerated dairy section at supermarkets here.
Home-made Ricotta Cheese
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Resting time: 20-25 minutes
4 cups whole milk
2 cups fresh whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white vinegar
Prepare a large sieve and set it over a tall bowl. Line it with a doubled cheesecloth that has been dampened with water. Set aside.
In a large stainless steel saucepan, pour the milk and the cream. Stir in the salt. Cook over medium heat until the milk and cream boil, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. If a skin forms on top, I just skim it off with a spatula. The milk mixture will boil over if not watched. When it boils, a dome of milk forms on top. Just skim this off. Underneath the dome, the milk mixture will be bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar. Let the milk rest about 1 minute. By then the milk mixture will solidify, and if pierced with a spatula, the whey, a yellowish liquid, is just beneath the surface. .
Pour the contents of the pot into the prepared sieve. It will begin to drain and separate into curds (in the cheesecloth) and whey. Occasionally drain off the whey and discard. This takes about 20 minutes or longer, depending on how thick you want the cheese. This yields about 2 cups cheese.
According to Ina Garten, the ricotta cheese can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days, so it can be made ahead. I used it all to make lasagna.