Fresh chive ricotta

Fresh chive ricotta

By
From
Good Better Green
Makes
500g ricotta and 125ml chive oil

If you’ve never had freshly made ricotta, you’re in for a treat. The beauty of it is its simplicity and subtle taste, and with vibrant green chive oil, it becomes super versatile. Either mix some oil into the ricotta and use as a topping on crostini or in pasta dishes; or reserve the oil to drizzle over ricotta pancakes or soups. It has to be prepared a day ahead to give the chives a chance to flavour the oil, but it is little effort. The leftover whey from the ricotta can be used in place of water in baking recipes or whizzed into smoothies.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the chive oil

Quantity Ingredient
25g chives, cut into thirds
125ml extra virgin olive oil

For the ricotta

Quantity Ingredient
1 litres whole milk of your choice
60ml lemon juice or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large lemon, grated zested, plus extra to serve
freshly ground black pepper
coarse sea salt
dried chilli flakes or sweet paprika, to serve

Method

  1. For the chive oil, bring a small pan of water to the boil and blanch the chives for 20 seconds, then drain and refresh under cold running water, or tip into a bowl of iced water.
  2. Wrap the chives up in a clean tea towel and swing it around to shake off any excess water, then blend with the oil until the chives have been completely incorporated. Pour into a glass jar, put the lid on and infuse in the fridge for 24 hours. Strain the oil through a nut milk bag or a few layers of muslin to remove any pulp.
  3. To make the ricotta, line a colander with a double layer of muslin and set it over a large bowl. Pour the milk into a large, heavy-based pan that is wider than it is high, and heat gradually over a medium heat until almost boiling. The milk should be foamy and starting to steam and bubble around the edges. If a skin has formed, scoop it off and discard.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the lemon juice or vinegar and the salt. Stir gently once or twice to distribute the acid, but don’t stir more than twice, as it could result in chewy curds. Leave the milk undisturbed for 10 minutes, after which it should have separated into clumps of milky white curds and thin, watery, yellow whey. Dip a slotted spoon in to check; if you still see a lot of unseparated milk, add another tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and wait a few more minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, carefully scoop the big curds out of the pan and into the lined colander. Pour any remaining small curds and the whey through the colander, being careful not to break up the larger ones. Leave the curds to drain for 5–10 minutes, depending on how moist you like your cheese.
  6. Scoop the ricotta into a bowl and whisk in the lemon zest and generous amounts of black pepper, with more salt if it needs it. You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days at this stage.
  7. Now, you can choose to add the chive oil directly to the ricotta or reserve it all for drizzling. If adding, do so bit by bit, tasting along the way until you are happy with the balance. I usually incorporate 3–4 tablespoons of the oil. Serve immediately, drizzled with more chive oil, a grating of black pepper and some lemon zest, and perhaps a few chilli flakes or sweet paprika.
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