|1 gallon||Whole milk|
|⅓ cup||Plus 1 teaspoon white vinegar|
The Italian cooking classes I've been taking are great, but the teacher doesn't want us to share her recipes because she's working on publishing a cookbook. It's been so hard for me to not send the recipes we've been creating along to you. I can't stand it anymore, so I'll just have to trust all you fine folks to NOT publish this recipe. I haven't seen this in any of the cookbooks I own.
In a large nonreactive pan, heat the milk on medium-high heat to 185 degrees F. I use a candy thermometer. Stir the milk from time to time; be sure it doesn't begin to stick and burn on the bottom. As soon as the temperature is reached, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vinegar and salt. Keep stirring for one minute. Now, this looks like a Culinary Disaster at this point. The curds separate from the whey; not a pretty sight. Cover the pot with a clean towel, and leave to cool unattended for either overnight or while you're at work. Then strain the mixture by pouring through a fine-holed colander. This can be lined with cheesecloth or not; I don't usually bother with the cheesecloth. Let it drain; press slightly to dry the ricotta to desired dryness. Refrigerate.
Makes four cups; keeps about a week in the refrigerator. Doesn't freeze well.
Now, this is truly wonderful stuff. I'll never purchase ricotta from the little cartons in the grocery again. I have used it to prepare ricotta pie, stuffed manicotti, cream puff filling, cannoli filling, lasagne, and ricotta gnocchi, to name a few. Processed until smooth, it's great as a base for any kind of dip for fresh vegetables. Yesterday I made a food processor sort of green goddess salad dressing with ricotta, parsley, anchovies, ground black pepper, and loads of garlic with red wine vinegar, olive oil and freshly grated romano. It's also great on freshly baked bread in the morning instead of butter.
You might ask, could I use lowfat milk? The answer...no. Limit your portions, but use whole milk. It's the wonderful sweet flavor and the texture that suffer from using lowfat milk. By all means, try this recipe; it's just great.
I'll credit my wonderful teacher, Grace Pilato...who is also a master potter and a swell human being. Posted to FOODWINE Digest by Gretl Collins <gyc1@...> on Apr 13, 1998
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