So imagine my joy when my good friend Meri on Hotspur told me that you could make ricotta cheese. I was desperate, so I tried it. Wow! It was like magic and I was so jazzed about it (and the resultant pan of yummy lasagna) that I had to share it with you.
The entire process takes about fifteen minutes. The ingredients are simple - 3 cups of dried whole (must be whole) milk, 6 cups of cold water, and 3/4 cup white vinegar. In a large saucepan mix the dried milk and water until dissolved. Heat over medium heat until the liquid is hot to touch but not boiling. Do not let it boil, but keep it hot. Then dump in the vinegar and start stirring. Almost immediately the curds will begin forming. Keep stirring for about ten to fifteen more minutes until the curds (the cheese) and the whey (the yellowish leftover liquid) seperate completely. Then pour this into a strainer lined with cheese cloth. I don't have cheesecloth so I used a clean tank top. Gently squeeze out the whey, then rinse with cold water and squeeze out the liquid again. Then empty the cheese ball out onto a plate lined with some paper toweling, just to get a little more water out. If you squeeze out too much water, the ricotta is a little dry, but you can just add some cream when you are mixing it up for the lasagna, later to compensate. And Voila! you have perfect ricotta cheese. The recipe makes about 2 1/2 to 3 cups ricotta cheese. I don't have access to store bought ricotta so I can't do a side-by-side comparison, but I am pretty sure that it IS ricotta cheese. It sure makes a great tasting lasagna.
Our lasagna was so good that we made two pans of lasagna in two days! Still recovering from the overload.
Meri has started a very cool website with lots of great lasagna recipes on it. She is working on adding the ricotta cheese recipe too, so you should see it on there soon. There are more recipes for different lasagnas than I have ever seen, so it is already a great site to visit. You can find it at http://lasagnarecipehq.com/
Check it out!