Fresh Ricotta Recipe | Italian Recipes | PBS Food

Fresh Ricotta with Rhubarb Compote

Fresh Ricotta recipe

Yield: makes 2 3/4 cups

Course: , ,


  • 8 cups (1/2 gallon) best-quality whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups best-quality heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), strained to remove pulp
  • For the Rhubarb Compote, for serving:
  • 10 ounces trimmed rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 3/4 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons water


  1. Combine milk, cream, and salt in a 4- to 5-quart pot, and warm mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until mixture registers 195 degrees on a candy thermometer. It should take about 15 minutes.
  2. Add lemon juice, gently stirring until just combined. Remove pot from heat and let stand 5 minutes. The combination of the acid and the residual heat in the mixture will cause it to coagulate, or curdle -- separating into a soft mass (curds) and a cloudy liquid (whey).
  3. After lining a mesh colander with 4 to 5 layers of cheesecloth and placing it inside a deeper, slightly larger bowl, gently pour curds and whey into colander. Let mixture stand, pouring off whey occasionally, until most of the whey has drained from still-wet curds, 20 minutes.
  4. Gather up ricotta in cheesecloth and turn it out into a bowl. Serve within a few hours, or refrigerate up to 4 days. For a denser ricotta, which can be preferable for baking, hang it to drain for another hour. Repurpose whey or discard it. Serve ricotta with Rhubarb Compote.
  5. For the Rhubarb Compote: Place the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb is almost tender, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the rhubarb from the liquid, and transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.
  6. Raise heat to medium, and continue simmering liquid until thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer reduced liquid to a small bowl to cool. Add the cooled, thickened liquid to the reserved cooked rhubarb, and stir to combine.
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