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I’ve been making my own ricotta lately because it’s easy and has so few ingredients. I also like the taste very much better than store bought. Why is it different? I do not know. I’ve used it in lasagne, cake, and as a condiment for pancakes and crackers.

  • Ingredients: Yield apx. 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 cup cider vinegar

Stir the milk and cream together in a saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring almost to boiling. This is very important, it has to be hot enough. Remove from heat and pour in the vinegar. Give two swirls through the pan with a spoon and then let it sit until cooled to room temperature. The milk will curdle–that’s good.

Using cheesecloth or a jelly bag or some type of fine-mesh strainer, pour the mixture through. This will mostly be whey. I save the whey to feed my sourdough, but you can discard it or search Google to find more uses. Once the remaining cheese is a dryness that seems good (overnight), either use it or place it into a covered dish and pop into the refrigerator for later. I don’t know how long it will last. Seems like the longest I’ve kept it is around ten days.

Notes: You can read a lot about this not working with pasteurized milk, but I’ve had no problem. I didn’t let it get hot enough one time and I stirred it too much, so it didn’t separate into milk solids and whey properly. I re-heated the whey the next day and as soon as it got hot it separated before my eyes. So, that was a learning experience.

This is half a slice.

High praise for this recipe. Pictured here is half a slice.

I made this as a birthday cake for my husband. The recipe can be found here: http://www.piarecipes.com/2012/11/chocolate-cannoli-cake.html

I made this as a birthday cake for my husband. Pictured is the cake prior to icing. The recipe can be found at: http://www.piarecipes.com/2012/11/chocolate-cannoli-cake.html

Here it is finished. The rich, rich chocolate flavor is decadent.

Here it is finished. The rich, rich chocolate flavor is decadent. My favorite part was the icing.

The only comment I can make about the recipe is that it took about 80 minutes to bake instead of the 70 listed in the recipe.

The only comment I can make about the recipe is that it took about 80 minutes to bake instead of the 70 listed in the recipe.

This recipe is based upon a stuffed manicotti recipe in Sunset Magazine’s December 1991 issue. I’ve made the stuffed manicotti many times, but it’s time consuming. I was looking for something more simple using the feta I love. This lasagna turned out surprisingly well. It’s a hit! Take note that I eyeballed every bit of this, I didn’t  measure anything. Feel free to do the same. One thing that I tried to keep in mind was that I didn’t want runny lasagna, so I was careful about the amount of liquid used. Another thing to keep in mind is that the spinach cooks down so the dish is a little more compact than the thick slices of hearty lasagna I usually make.

Spinach Feta Lasagna, Eggplant au Gratin, and garlic bread.

Spinach Feta Lasagna

1/2 lb. dried lasagna noodles

24 oz. tomato pasta sauce

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion

1 bell pepper

3/4 cup (about 5 oz.) feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup (1/2 lb.) ricotta cheese

1/3 lb. chopped fresh spinach leaves

Ground pepper

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook eleven lasagna noodles (about 1/2 lb.) according to the package directions for al dente. Do NOT overcook. Drain. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 24 oz. tomato pasta sauce. Simmer for awhile so it’s somewhat thick. Use a spatter guard.

Meanwhile, saute onion and bell pepper together in olive oil until soft. Let cool.

In a large bowl, stir together feta, ricotta, spinach, pepper, and onion-bell pepper mixture. You may need to use your hands as it will be quite dry. Do not squeeze, just stir together.

In a greased 9 x 13″ pan, place 5 lasagna noodles across the bottom. Distribute all  the cheese, spinach, onion mixture across the lasagna noodles. Place a layer of six noodles across the cheese mixture. You may press down a little now. Spoon pasta sauce evenly across the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Yummy goodness!

Cook the lasagna noodles, saute the onions with bell pepper (I used yellow bell peppers), simmer the pasta sauce using a spatter guard, and chop the raw spinach leaves.

Mix feta, ricotta, and spinach.

Place a row of lasagna noodles across the bottom of a greased 13 x 9″ baking dish.

Distribute the feta, ricotta, spinach mixture across the lasagna. Place another layer of lasagna.

Spoon pasta sauce evenly across the top.

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over all and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Spinach Feta Lasagna