I was first introduced to Ricotta tucked away between layers of Lasagna sheets almost hidden by the other intense ingredients of tomatoes, meat, mozzarella, and vegetables. It was one of those ingredients I only used in Lasagna and in the odd times’ ravioli. It wasn’t until I starting working in a professional kitchen that I learned that ricotta can be the backup singer ingredient but it can also be the star. One place I worked for used a beautiful quenelle of ricotta as the showpiece on top of a Lamb Bolognese dish and yes the dish was rich enough but the ricotta added a contrasting richness that elevated the dish even more. Since tasting fresh ricotta it has been one of my start ingredients and has made its way into some of my favorite dishes as well as on my whole grain bread with a light drizzle of flavorful extra-virgin olive oil, fresh basil, salt, and pepper and is frequently eaten as a midday snack.
I love making recipes that have a two in one element such as this one. When making Ricotta there is a very special liquid that remains at the end of the process called whey. It’s most times thrown away but its many uses make it worth saving. Some ways that I use whey are in soups, stews, bread, muffins, stocks, and pasta. But there are many more uses cooking and non-cooking related. A quick google search will give you more than enough reason to hold on to that leftover whey. Below I will show you an efficient way to store and keep your whey for further usage.
MAKES ABOUT 2 Cups
- 2 quarts whole milk
- 1-pint heavy cream
- Big Pinch Salt, Kosher
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
Set a sieve over a large deep bowl and line it with a double layer of wet cheesecloth.
- heavy bottom stainless steel saucepan
- large sieve
- airtight container
- ice tray x2 (if keeping whey)
- large zip lock bag (if keeping whey)
- Pour milk and heavy cream into a heavy bottom stainless steel saucepan, add salt and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add vinegar and stir until mixture begins to curdle and separate (curds from whey).
- Pour the curds and whey into the prepared sieve and allow to drain for 15 minutes (or up to two hours or even overnight for a firmer cheese).
- Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to two weeks.
Ice trays are always a great tool to store away liquids. Pour whey into trays as you would water and freeze. Once frozen release the cubes into a freezer zip lock bags and enjoy for up to 6 months.