- Ricotta is traditionally made from the whey of cow, buffalo and sheep's milk in Italy. Ricotta is processed differently depending on its intended use. Some ricottas are sweeter while others are dried and salted. Ricotta is used for all kinds of Italian dishes both sweet and savory- tarts, salads, pastas,spreads, cheesecake, and bruschetta.
- Paneer often compared to ricotta is made from whole-milk and is commercially drained and shaped into a product that can be sliced. Citric juices are used to split milk in India to keep it vegetarian but rennet an animal enzyme, is employed in many parts of Europe.
- I use neither. I prefer buttermilk. I think it produces a far smoother and fresh cheese. They key is to use day old buttermilk which is still not sour but just acidic enough to split your milk.
- 1 liter whole-milk plain
- 200 ml fresh heavy cream
- 1/2 liter plain unflavored full fat or reduced one day old buttermilk, cold
- For the Ricotta spread
- 1 cup chopped white bulbs of green onions or scallions
- 1/4 cup chopped green stalks of the scallions
- 1 cup finely chopped rocket or arugula leaves
- 1/2 finely chopped fresh dill or sepu
- 1 teaspoon zest of lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the ricotta
- Heat the whole-milk and cream in a large saucepan on medium heat. Keep a large bowl and fine sieve handy. When the milk reaches a boil pour 3/4 liter of cold buttermilk into it. Switch off the flame and let it sit 15 minutes. The milk should split.
- Switch on the heat again and stir. Boil 2 minutes then turn off flame and slowly strain the contents of the sauce pan into the sieve over a large heat proof bowl.
- Return the whey liquid to the fire and boil again. Add remaining buttermilk and boil. Strain one more time over the ricotta in the strainer.
- if you wish to boil only once add all the buttermilk to the cream and milk. The leftover whey from the first or second boil is equally delicious though the latter is less fatty. You can make soups and dals like my Three Lentil Buttermilk Curry.
- Cover the cheese in the sieve and allow it to drain for 20 minutes. Then refrigerate in the sieve itself over a bowl for 3-4 hours until fully drained and chilled.
- Whip using a whisk or with a hand or stand mixer until smooth. Add all the herbs, zest and a teaspoon of salt and pepper. Taste and season with more salt if required.
- Spread this dip on crackers, sandwiches and ofcourse bruschetta. This is delicious with the flame roasted bell pepper and garlic bruschetta and tomato bruschetta. Find the recipes for these on my blog.
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