Speaking of signature recipes, just last night I made Marcella Hazan's butter tomato sauce. As I watched the tomatoes simmer and the house fill with the most wonderful aromas, I thought about the history of this particular recipe, about Marcella, and I wondered if her family feels the same excitement and enthusiasm that I feel each time I ladle a generous serving onto my pasta.
makes 1 cup
recipe adapted from Salvatore Brooklyn Ricotta via The Tasting Table
prep time: 5 minutes + 20 min rest
cook time: 5 minutes
8 cups of whole milk
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
(half the recipe for a smaller batch)
Pour the milk and salt into a large non-reactive pot (clay, enamel, glass, plastic or stainless steel). On medium-high heat, heat the milk to 190ºF using a thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, heat the milk until it starts to foam just before beginning to boil. Continue to stir the milk preventing it from scorching on the bottom of the pot.
Remove the pot from the stove and slowly stir in the lemon juice. It should start to form curds within seconds. Cover the milk and let sit for 5 minutes.
Line a strainer with cheese cloth and place over a bowl (to catch the liquid whey). Gently scoop the curds and liquid whey into the colindar and let drain for under 5 minutes for a moist creamy consistency, 15 - 20 minutes for small tender curds with cottage cheese consistency, or 1 hour for firm crumbly curds similar to feta cheese.
Discard the whey and refrigerate the ricotta for up to 4-5 days. Serve on toasted baguette with olive oil and sea salt.