Learn to be a Smug Hostess in Less Than Five Minutes

Homemade ricotta is one of the easiest, fastest, and most delicious discoveries I’ve made in a while.  You can literally make it in under 5 minutes in the microwave, let it drain, and then serve it up with some garnishes for an appetizer people will go crazy over.  I’ve made this and served it still warm with some really good olive oil and sea salt on little toasts and people were actually dying of happiness.  You can throw it into some pasta with a lot of cracked pepper and some arugula.  You could dollop it on top of pizzas.  You could toss it with some fresh herbs, serve spoonfuls of it and be so effortlessly smug about it that your friends would secretly hate you but still come back for more.  All you need is some milk and some vinegar.  Seriously.  Check out the recipe below, adapted from the v. serious research done by the amazing folks at Serious Eats:

Image from cthoyes, on Flickr

2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar or lemon juice

1. Line colander or other strainer with a couple layers of of food-safe paper towels and set over large bowl to drain. Combine milk, salt, and vinegar in microwave-safe glass 1-quart liquid measure. Microwave on high until lightly bubbling around edges, about 2 to 4 minutes (milk should register about 165°F on an instant-read thermometer). Remove from microwave, and stir gently for 5 seconds. Milk should separate into solid white curds and translucent liquid whey. If not, microwave for 30 seconds longer.  Repeat until fully separated.

2. Using a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer curds to prepared colander, cover exposed top with plastic wrap, and allow to drain until desired texture is reached.  Ta da! I like it very loose and creamy, plus I’m impatient, so I usually let it drain for about 10 minutes then dive in headfirst.

If you don’t eat it all at once (as if) you can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

That’s it! It is SO EASY, you guys.  I almost didn’t want to share this because it makes me less impressive but I care that much about your dinner parties.

Read the whole article about the vinegar vs. lemon juice vs. buttermilk debate (did you know there was one? now you do!) at Serious Eats.