This was so incredibly good.

This was so incredibly good.

A few weeks ago I was invited to a dinner meeting at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Metuchen, NJ, called Novita. Before heading up there, I checked out their menu online (as a vegetarian, I have to check out restaurants in advance to make sure I can eat something), and I saw that an appetizer featuring homemade ricotta cheese, which I resovled to try.

It was wonderful, and I decided then to try my hand at making this treat at home. I poked around the internet for a while and found one recipe at many, many sites, but the easiest incarnation of it is at Becks and Posh, where they are kind enough to not make it a slideshow or include lots of pictures of each step.

I used this recipe, but cut in it half (mainly because I had already begun using my gallon of milk for other projects, so I no longer had a full gallon to dedicate to this one). I didn’t have any cheesecloth, so I used a single layer of cotton sack cloth which I have on hand for my bread making, and it worked just fine. The whole process took about an hour, but hands on time was only 10 minutes or so.

The resulting cheese was slighlty sweet, and a little gooey, much nicer than store bought ricotta. I tried some still warm on a cinnamon raisen English muffin with a drizzle of honey and then served up a cup of it with whole wheat bread at dinner.

To make the bread spread seen above, I took a 1 cup measuring bowl, rubbed it with olive oil and sprinkled Kosher salt, fresh pepper, and dried Italian herbs around the inside, then stuffed in the cheese. I put a small plate on top, flipped it over carefully, and removed the cup. I liked this so much that I plan to serve it at Thanksgiving as part of the traditional cheese tray.

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