Nancy Silverton’s Homemade Ricotta

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by Amy Flanigan on March 27, 2011 · 21 comments

If you’re at all into bread (and what sane person isn’t?), chances are you’ve heard of Nancy Silverton. She’s a pioneer when it comes to yeast and flour and has been at the forefront of efforts to revitalize sourdough and artisan breads in the United States.

She’s also a James Beard award-winning pastry chef, founder of La Brea Bakery, co-owner of Mozza in Los Angeles, and author of 7 cookbooks. How’s that for a resume?

To celebrate the new Showtime Original Series, The Borgias, she put on a cooking demo at Macy’s Union Square yesterday. Along with a Borgias influenced tablescape, she created some small bites, inspired by one of the show’s characters, Cesare Borgia.

In addition to serving up fresh baked bread rubbed with the freshest garlic, soaking other slices in olive oil (SOAKING, not drizzling), and demonstrating how to get the best julienned onion slices (called “petaling”), she whipped up some homemade ricotta. And served it warm. A.MA.ZING. I don’t know how I will tolerate the store bought kind ever again.

My friend Krysta, from Evil Chef Mom, joined me. She, prior to the demo, was not a big fan of ricotta. She’s a changed woman now.

There’s Krysta…doesn’t she just ooze fun?

Although the use and varieties are vast, Nancy recommended two olive oils: Monini and Capezzana. She also subscribes to the two-fisted way of eating (niiiiice.)

Most importantly, when asked whether she prefers cake or pie, she answered without hesitation…pie. That’s my kind of gal.

What I really need to find out is what super natural products she uses on her hair. Look at us! That’s a whole lot of curly going on.

Thank you to Malika at Be Everywhere Media for inviting me, Macy’s Culinary Council for hosting another fantastic cooking demo, Katie Brucker from La Brea Bakery for setting up my meeting, and thank you Nancy for signing my book and indulging me with an interview. Class act.

Also, thanks Mom, sister Jen, Krysta, and Katie for joining me. Icing on the cake. Or ricotta on the bread…that works, too.

Homemade Ricotta
Makes 1 cup
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking/Cooling time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

• 4 cups whole milk
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed, strained lemon juice
• 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Without stirring, pour all of the ingredients in a small heavy-bottom stainless steel saucepan; bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside until the mixture cools slightly, 5-10 minutes. (You’ll see the ricotta separating into curds.)

Line a strainer or colander with cheesecloth and place in the sink. Scoop the curds out of the saucepan (don’t pour! which will break up the curds) and into the strainer or colander to drain. Serve warm over bread, with fresh herbs, drizzled with olive oil and enjoy!

Note: If you don’t want to use it warm, you can tie the cheesecloth onto the handle of a long wooden spoon; place the spoon over a bowl or pan so it’s hanging. Then place in the refrigerator to drain until you’re ready to use it, or for up to 2 days.

(compliments of Nancy Silverton)

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia April 9, 2012 at 6:00 am

I love all that curly hair! I need to learn tips from you because my daughter somehow got curls… and both of us have straight hair, so we’re at a loss on how to tame it, haha.
Also, homemade ricotta is one of my favorite things to make and eat, it’s just amazing!


Amy April 9, 2012 at 6:28 am

Oh gosh…tips on taming it? As soon as *I* figure that one out, I’ll let you know! I have such straight hair envy.


Debi (Table Talk) March 30, 2011 at 6:14 pm

What a fun event, and nice that you were able to share it with a food blogging friend! I’ve always made ricotta with whole milk; the heavy cram must make it extra luxurious~


Stephanie March 30, 2011 at 10:59 am

This sounds like my kind of event. Bread, olive oil and ricotta. What more could a woman ask for? Well, besides pie and chocolate. And dogs. But you get the idea.

P.S. I’m jealous of your frequent celebrity chef meetings. I need to live in a better state.


Britton March 30, 2011 at 9:04 am

So happy you were able to go! It sounds like it was very delicious. We’ll let you know about the next Macy’s CC Stop in SF. You are a rock star!!



lo March 29, 2011 at 7:34 pm

OMG. I’m a Nancy Silverton devotee! Love that sandwich book of hers… we use it all the time!


pam March 28, 2011 at 10:05 am

What fun! I have my DVR set up to record The Borgia’s – it looks good. Also, I wanted to thank you for your kind comments about Scrappycat.


Anne March 28, 2011 at 6:21 am

What a fantastic, jealousy-inducing experience! How awesome. And I am looking wistfully at the picture of you and Nancy and your gorgeous locks because I lost most of my curls after Walt was born. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

I guess I’m going to have to eat a tub of warm ricotta to soothe myself.


Amy March 28, 2011 at 7:30 am

Ha. See, you’re disappointed, and I’m bitter – everyone swore my curls would loosen up once I gave birth. No such luck :( Now *I* need to go comfort myself with a bowl of warm ricotta ;-)


Ethan March 27, 2011 at 9:04 pm

My mind sorta just blanked after reading about homemade ricotta. It’s totally on my to-do list!
Looks like a great time was had.


Kathy - Cooking On the Side March 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Lucky!! I was just thinking this afternoon that I needed to get myself up to LA soon to go behind the scenes at La Brea Bakery and maybe catch up with Nancy Silverton. What an amazing lady!


Amy March 27, 2011 at 7:59 pm

No doubt. The entire time I’m talking to her, I’m thinking “I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy.” Would love to got to La Brea, but at least I got to eat some of her bread for an hour. I’ll take what I can get!


Joanne March 27, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Ricotta is totally my icing. What a great event! You know how I feel about bread…totally have to check out the Mozza cookbook. Amazon and I are becoming close friends.

And OMG. Homemade ricotta. Need this. In my life.


Amy March 27, 2011 at 7:57 pm

It doesn’t come out until August. Waaaaa. SO WRONG. The ricotta, though – so so right. You would absolutely love it, J.


Jen March 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Such a great time! The ricotta was A.MAZ.ING! OMG…like nothing I’ve ever had before.


Amy March 27, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I know. I’m still dreaming about it…


Lisa@ The Cutting Edge of Ordinary March 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

Well it looks like you guys had a blast. Image the curl fest we’d have if I was there too!

I’m headed back to the hospital to see Dad, but I did manage to make some blue stilton crackers today. First time in the kitchen in almost a week!


Amy March 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

That seriously would have been hilarious. And I would have felt bad for anyone sitting behind us…it’s like being behind the guy in the hat.

The fact that you were motivated enough to make crackers tells me things are looking up. I certainly hope that’s what it means. (((hugs)))


Melissa March 27, 2011 at 11:21 am

I may make this when you come see me. Really! Lasagna with homemade noodles kind of calls out for homemade ricotta. ;)

You totally should have got hair tips from her. Glad you guys had fun. That picture of you and K made my day. :D


Amy March 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Do not tease me, Melissa. That would just be cruel.


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