Clemenza was right. Cannolis are delightful. If you haven’t seen The Godfather, first of all shame on you. Second, click here for a YouTube link of one of the movie’s most famous scenes. And then seriously go lock yourself in a room and watch the movie. Then when you’re done come back and read the rest of this post… I’m serious. Go. Now. Oh you’ve seen it? Cool. Keep reading. But if not, GO!

Good. You’re back. I told you that movie was amazing… Anyway, that’s me. Making ricotta cheese. The key ingredient in cannolis. It sounds super fancy but it’s really not… It’s so easy, but more on that later… I’m not the best cook in the world by ANY stretch of the imagination… BUT I do all right… And the reason I do all right is that I’m always trying to learn from people, cookbooks, the interwebs and various other sources… Lately I’ve been taking a lot of cooking classes…

The first was an “Artisan Bread and Cheese” class taught by Classical Cooking Academy in Scottsdale. My wife bought it for me as a Christmas gift. It was tons of fun. But it was a little bit bullshit in the fact that in 3 hours you’ll be able to make cheese and bread… The class needed to be longer. But I digress because we did get our hands dirty to make a flatbread and we did make ricotta. It was also a little bit bushleague in the fact that the recipes we were given were not written all that well. Often times confusing the person following the recipe (me). For example, in the ricotta recipe I was given, it says to add salt two different times. So I’ve made it a few times now and here’s how I do it:

Ricotta cheese:

Slowly bring 1 Gallon of whole milk to 180 degrees in heavy pot over low to medium heat. The temperature is important. Don’t let it get much hotter. If it comes to a boil you need to start over. Remove from heat once it hits 180 and add 1/3 to 2/3 cup of distilled vinegar (amount may vary, my motto is you can always add more if you need it, you’ll know it needs more if the milk solids are not separating. You’ll know when you see the liquid turn yellow like the picture above). Stir the milk into the vinegar with a slotted spoon in an up and down motion. Do not stir clockwise/counterclockwise. Always up and down. Let sit for 10-15 minutes and allow the curds to form. Pour the mixture into colander and let it drain 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a week. Salt to taste when you’re going to use the cheese. Makes about 2 cups. If you are using it in a sweet application then skip the salt. You can use cheesecloth to strain it but a fine mesh colander works just fine.

So leave the gun, and make the Cannolis. You’re sure to impress your friends.