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Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil

Posted by in Step-by-Step Recipes

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

 
Are you like me and have this forever growing “recipe bucket-list”? Things like homemade fruit leathers, giant cinnamon rolls have snuck their way onto my mile long list, but on the very tippy-top of that long list was to make my own ricotta cheese. It was when I saw Megan’s recipe for Lemon Basil Ricotta Cheese (courtesy of the fine folks of America’s Test Kitchen), I knew it was time to cross that recipe off of my list and get elbow deep into some ricotta cheese baby.
 
First of all I had no idea how easy it was, or else I would have made it a long time ago! You just need a few ingredients, cheesecloth and a trusty digital thermometer and poof, ricotta. This recipe is light and bright from the lemon and basil, which complements the ricotta’s smooth and creamy texture. But if you desire plain ricotta just simply leave out the lemon and basil.
 
This stuff is good. Reeeal good. It’s safe to say I won’t be buying store bought ricotta ever again. Period.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

The recipe calls for whole milk, I suppose you could try to make it with two percent or even skim, but whole milk is where it’s at. The creamy factor is out of this world!
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

Make sure to place cheesecloth on your grocery list, along with a digital thermometer that clips to your pot, if you don’t already have one in your kitchen.
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

Start by squeezing a few lemons and straining out all the pulp and seeds. My lemons were mighty juicy, so it only took 2 to get 2/3 cup of lemon juice. But always buy a couple extra just in case.
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

Line a mesh strainer or a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and set it inside the deepest—and I mean deepest—bowl you have. 
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, pour in an entire gallon of milk.
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

While you patiently wait for the milk to heat up to 185ºF, stir … stir … stir! It will help prevent the milk from scalding.
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

The moment the milk reaches 185ºF, remove the pot from the heat and pour in the lemon juice. Now we wait, and specifically directed, DO NOT DISTURB for 25 minutes! In this time the lemon juice will coagulate the milk to form the curds, which will be the ricotta!
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

The moment the buzzer rings, pour the ricotta slowly into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. I recommend doing this step by a sink in case you need to drain out some liquid from the bowl.
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

I twisted the cheesecloth and squeezed to get the most moisture out. 
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

If you wanted more of a loose ricotta, don’t squeeze, just stop draining when the liquid stops flowing freely.
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

Just look at that cheese!
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

Grab a few fresh basil leaves, roll and mince the heck out of them until you get 1/3 cup.
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

Throw the basil in with the fresh (and still warm) ricotta!
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

Zest in half a lemon.
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

Season with some salt and black pepper, and then gently fold it all together until the lemon and basil are incorporated. 
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

Transfer the ricotta to a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
 
 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil. Guest post by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch, recipe submitted by TK member Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver.

I literally can’t stop thinking about how delicious this cheese tasted and how easy it was to prepare! You can spread it on bread, bake it in pasta—the options are endless! Until you run out and that’s a total bummer deal. But now you know just how simple it is to whip up some ricotta in your very own kitchen! So go give it a try!
 
Be sure to stop by Megan’s newly revamped blog Wanna Be a Country Cleaver. It’s where she’s cooking her way through life, dishing up one after one fun and delicious recipes. You could also take a peek in her recipe box here on Tasty Kitchen and you’ll see what I mean! Thank you Megan for sharing this ricotta recipe with us. I know my life won’t be the same!

 
 

Printable Recipe

Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil

5.00 Mitt(s) 1 Rating(s)1 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 5

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Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 12

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Description

Fresh ricotta made at home. Better than anything in the store.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon Whole Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ⅔ cups Lemon Juice
  • ⅓ cups Basil, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • ⅓ teaspoons Pepper

Preparation Instructions

Yields 3-4 cups of ricotta.

In a large Dutch oven or deep pot, heat milk and salt to 185ºF, stirring frequently to avoid scalding. Remove from heat and pour in lemon juice. Let sit for 25 minutes while curds separate and form. Do not disturb.

Line a large colander or strainer with a double layer of cheese cloth, placing them over a deep bowl. Slowly pour cheese mixture into the strainer lined with cheesecloth and allow to drain, about 10-15 minutes or until the liquid no longer strains freely.

Place in a large bowl. Fold in minced basil, lemon zest, and pepper if desired. Do not mix too much, just enough to incorporate.

Place in sealed containers and let chill for two hours. Serve with garlic toast and olive oil for drizzling.

 
 
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Laurie is the force behind Simply Scratch, a blog that documents her efforts to find and create recipes that are made simply from scratch. (We think it’s sweet that her mother-in-law helped her set up her blog and get started.) We love her recipes; they’re not just tried and true, but they look gorgeous as well. Check out her blog and you’ll become a fan too.

 

20 Comments

Comments are closed for this recipe.

I Just Want To Eat! on 3.23.2012

This looks great. I definitely have to try this. Thank you for sharing this.

Valerie on 1.14.2012

This was a perfect way to use up my left-over half gallon of whole milk since we are a skim milk drinking family! I just made this and it was incredibly simple and very tasty. The lemon zest gives it a beautiful finish and compliments the basil nicely. Now to make some bread to serve it on!

Abigail on 1.9.2012

This looks delicious! Technically, it’s not ricotta; ricotta is made from whey. It’s a by-product of cheesemaking. I once helped a friend make mozzarella and then ricotta from the whey. He started with a gallon of milk and ended up with a pound of mozzarella and two tablespoons of ricotta! Homemade cheese is so good, however it’s made.

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Karen Clark on 1.7.2012

OMG..I just made this ricotta and it is ssooo good! I did not add the extra lemon zest or basil because I am using it as a filling for my lagasna roll-ups. I have made another ricotta recipe many times before but this one is easier and more forgiving. Thank You Megan for the recipe and Laurie for the post!

Ladygoat on 1.4.2012

Huh. That really does look easy.

Onto my to do list it goes!

NanaBread (Jeanne) on 1.3.2012

Megan and her Wanna Be A Country Cleaver blog are a revelation. It has been so much fun watching her blog blossom in 2011. She’s hitting her stride now with her blog re-design, and finding a new confidence that suits her beautifully. She’s going places, and it’s lovely to see her flavorful recipes featured on Tasty Kitchen. I hope she’ll become a regular fixture here. Congrats, Megan!

PS – I’m totally making this for Hoegarden Weekend this spring. My sisters are going to love it.

Culinary Cache on 1.3.2012

Great recipe!

Lauren on 1.3.2012

LOVE this idea! And Megan!

Danielle D on 1.3.2012

Jami D-

You can pin it on pinterest pretty easily! When you go to add it to your board, just have to keep clicking through the pictures (there are 2 arrows under it) until you find the one you want to display pops up. I Pin a lot of Tasty Kitchen recipes so I don’t forget them! Good luck!

Jami D on 1.3.2012

This looks DIVINE! But, I always get so frustrated that I can never pin the recipe pictures from this site onto Pinterest! If someone could work on that, you would get so much more traffic from the interwebs.
LOVE this blog!

Zee @ The Recipe Code on 1.3.2012

Nothing is better than homemade cheese :)

Caroline on 1.3.2012

Interesting because I have been making paneer using the same recipe!! Also with lemon juice to make the milk curdle. Is paneer actually the same as ricotta?? I always thought that ricotta was made from whey? Confused but ricotta is on my bucket list too so I need to find out :)

Mary L on 1.2.2012

This was the procedure my grandmother used without the lemon juice to make cottage cheese. I believe she let the milk set out for a period of time before slowly cooking the milk. Wish I could remember.

Emily on 1.2.2012

I have loved making my own ricotta for a while. It’s a very forgiving cheese! I use white vinegar instead of lemon juice (and not nearly as much, only a couple tablespoons) and always add salt too. Much cheaper than purchasing it from the store!

Rose on 1.2.2012

This looks delicious and soo much cheaper than buying fresh ricotta! (and no, the stuff in the cottage cheese containers does not count.) Thanks for a great recipe, I think I will try it plain without the lemon and basil. I am assuming you still put in the lemon juice because it needs it to curdle?

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Julie | The Little Kitchen on 1.2.2012

Love this! I have been wanting to make my own ricotta cheese forever. Thanks so much for this!!

nightsmusic on 1.2.2012

Don’t you need something like the lemon juice to curdle the milk though? It’s a lovely recipe, but I’m not sure how it would work without the lemon.

Lor on 1.2.2012

Making homemade ricotta cheese is on my to-do list for 2012. Now to decide if regular or this lovely version? Maybe both!! Thanks for the recipe.

Yogamama on 1.2.2012

I have visions of serving this gorgeous looking ricotta on crispy garlic bread pool side this summer!