Once again Martha has gone and made something seem simpler than it actually is....
Following her recipe for Fresh Ricotta was something I'd been meaning to do since summer. So on this snowy afternoon, I finally set out to tackle this–intending to use it in a dinner of manicotti.
The recipe read real simply, and I had high hopes that I could make this 45 minute cheese in an hour. The process did not go smoothly. I don't think my curds and whey separated enough in step two, for when I tried to drain it, it just kinda hung there. I let it drain for over an hour, and even divided it into two parts to try and speed up the drips. But in the end, I was left with a bowl of runny cheese, about the consistency of cream of wheat. I made my dinner anyway, stuffed shells, anticipating the watery mess it would become.
During this process I swore I'd never make cheese again. It was time-consuming, messy, finicky, not inexpensive and the house smelled like curdled milk. Why bother? When ricotta is so readily accessible and cheap at the Meijer!
But then I tasted it. And even with this failed attempt, my stuffed shells tasted surprisingly exceptional. The cheese was smooth, creamy and full of flavor. And now I'm torn, it may be worth a second attempt.
Now I'm just kicking myself for not saving the whey, probably would have been quite good in smoothies!