As soon as my friend Jennifer Perillo’s book, “Homemade with Love” was available on Amazon, I pre-ordered it. I always wanted to know her secret to Risotto, which isn’t in the book Jennie! I still want to learn that one day, but I’ll forgive her for now because this book has quickly become one of my favorite cookbooks, full of simply amazing and totally do-able recipes. It doesn’t hurt that this book is also gorgeous. It could stand alone as a coffee table book. The colors, the fonts, the photos by Penny De Los Santos, and the soothing voice of Jennie, as if she was just guiding you in the kitchen. I truly love it.

I’ve tried four recipes from the book so far and every one was a hit. Fluffy is a modest description for the Buttermilk pancakes. The DIY granola uses ingredients I already have in my pantry. The Lentil “Meatball” recipe is a serious must-have for anyone who entertains a vegetarian. All the meat-eaters at my table loved it too and I really appreciate how it looks just like the meat version. Perhaps the most valuable find for me so far is the Creamy Homemade Ricotta.

Creamy Homemade Ricotta title pic

See, I hated ricotta as a kid. All I knew of as ricotta was the gunk in the Stuffed Shells in our cafeteria lunch. Do you know what I’m talking about? Eww gross! So I avoided ricotta except for in Lasagna which I have always loved, as long as it didn’t look like a lot of ricotta. I’m not sure when I first tasted fresh ricotta; I know it was at a restaurant. I remember being so apprehensive about it but when I took a bite, I almost fell out of my chair. That was ricotta? Yes, fresh ricotta. I’ve been in love ever since. I didn’t think it could get even better but it can. Soft milky curds that melt away on your tongue…heaven. And, when you make it yourself, you can use organic milk and organic cream.  (I haven’t been able to find organic buttermilk yet.) It will knock your socks off!

My favorite way to eat the ricotta is on very fresh crusty bread drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Creamy Homemade Ricotta Page

I’m sharing this recipe from Jennie’s book and you’ll have to get the book for the rest. =)

Creamy Homemade Ricotta from “Homemade with Love”

  •  4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions –

Combine the milk, cream, buttermilk, and salt in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Bring to gentle, not rolling, boil. As the curds begin to separate from the whey, you’ll see little white flecks pop to the surface and the milk will turn into a cloudy, watery-looking liquid. Let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes until larger curds begin to form then remove the pot from the heat. Place it on a back burner and let it sit for 30 minutes to help the curds develop further.

Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a deep bowl or pot. Spoon the curds into the cheeseclothe-lined strainer. Resist the temptation to pour it into the strainer all at once, Gently ladling the curds keeps them fluffy. Once all the curds have been ladled into the strainer, pull the sides of the cheeseclothe up and over the ricotta to cover it so it doesn’t dry out or form a skin on top. Let it sit in the cheeseclothe to drain the excess liquid for 15 to 30 minutes. The length of time you drain it depends on how creamy you’d like your ricotta-the longer, the drier. If using in a backed recipe, you’ll want a drier texture. If serving it “straight up” on a cheeseboard or spreading it on toast, you”ll want it to be on the creamier side. The ricotta may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

posted by jessica at 09:20 PM Filed under Italian, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.