A shepherd used to live on my family’s farm in Tuscany and herd his sheep in our pasteur. My grandfather, a man ahead of the times, never charged the shepherd a fee, he practiced bio dynamic farming 30 years before it became a common practice for may vineyards. The shepherd would come early on Sunday mornings… I remember waking up to the clinging sound of bells and the “Beee – Baaa” lament of the lamb, always getting in the herd and crying scared for mama sheep, dumb lamb! The sound would get stronger and stronger, as the animals would make their way to the fence around our house; my brother and I would run in the garden to pet them, talk to the shepherd and play a bit with his dog. Almost every Sunday we were gifted a bucket full of fresh ricotta, and it was just magnificent.
Prep Time: 5 mins / Cook Time: 10 mins / Yields: 1 cup
- 4 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus the zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 baguette, sliced and toasted
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for serving
- Add three layers cheesecloth over a colander.
- Add the milk to a large heavy pot and place over medium high heat. Stir in the lemon juice and salt and heat until an instant read thermometer reaches 175 degrees. The milk will begin to just bubble and start to steam. At this temperature you’ll begin to see the curds separate from the whey. Be mindful of over stirring the ricotta while the curds are forming- you don’t want to make your ricotta stiff. Let it sit for 5 minutes undisturbed and you will be left with a very creamy and pleasant finished result.
- Gently remove curds from the pot to the colander. Use the side of the cheesecloth to very gently release some of the liquid. Tie up the curds using butcher’s twine and let drain for 5-10 minutes. Remove from cheesecloth and place in bowl. Serve warm on toasted bread with lemon zest and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
COOK’S NOTE: Refrigerate leftover ricotta in a covered container for up to 5 days.