Monday, April 13, 2009

Lasagna From Scratch

But I mean really from scratch. Noodles, sauce, even ricotta! The only thing we didn't make from scratch is the mozarella, and the Romano we sprinkled on it. It was SO good. I have to thank a fellow student in ceramics class for sharing the recipe for ricotta. I didn't realize how easy it is to make, and how much better it is than store-bought ricotta! It also holds much better than regular ricotta, but that's probably because it's not traditional ricotta (usually made out of whey produced during hard-cheese making), but a whole-milk ricotta. This makes it more chunky and gives it more substance.

And this is how you make it - I recommend you try it at least once, because it's both fun and easy!

1 gallon milk (I used 2%)
1 quart buttermilk (I used fat free)
2 T salt

Pour everything into a large pot, and bring to boiling, stirring constantly, over high heat. It takes about 20 minutes. Stirring is very important, otherwise the milk will burn at the bottom of the pot. The added benefit is stronger arms. When it reaches the boiling point, and the milk is foaming and starting to rise, remove from the stove. You'll find curds floating in whey. Empty the content of the pot into a large strainer lined with cheese cloth (I use a large measuring cup to do that, gradually. I aslo fold the cloth multiple times so as little curds as possible will pass through). Once most of the whey passed through and mostly curds are left in the cloth, transfer to an air-tight container for later use (e.g. lasagna or calzone) and/or consume immediately. Don't throw away the whey. Although you won't be able to make more ricotta with it (as I learned the hard way - you can only use hard cheese whey for that) you can still use it to make delicious breads, or even drink it straight (some suggest adding spices) or, according to Rebecca, cook oatmeal with it. Also, you can whey your rose bushes. Enjoy!

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