When you have a full time job and two small kids there are recipes that speak to you in cookbooks. Some say, "when I had more time, I would have totally made that!" and others say, "there is no way in hell I have enough time to make that." And occasionally one says, "that looks so fast and easy, how could I not try it?" Homemade ricotta is one of THOSE recipes and let's be honest, those fast and easy recipes don't come along often enough.
I have another kitchen item trick I found to make this process a lot easier. I don't know how often you work with cheesecloth, but cheesecloth is never fun or easy to use. Instead of cheesecloth, pick up a paint strainer mesh bag. They are cheap and SO much easier to deal with than cheesecloth. You can wash them with a little dish soap and water when you are done and reuse them! I use these for ricotta and I also run my buttercream through it when I'm doing super small tip work to avoid clogs. Lifesaver!
Back to the ricotta...Check this recipe out. There is zero way it could be easier and trust me, you'll never buy it from the store again. Obviously ricotta is amazing in Italian dishes like lasagna, but it's also amazing on cheeseboards with fruit and savory spreads or a drizzle of honey. It's also amazing with fruit and honey for a an amazing breakfast side dish.
I hope you give it a try…
1 quart whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Combine milk, cream and salt together in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar and let sit for 1-2 minutes until the mixture curdles a bit.
Place a damp cheesecloth (or my preferred item: a paint strainer mesh bag) over a strainer and place the strainer over a bowl. Pour the milk mixture into the strainer and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Drain the liquid as needed - do not let it touch the bottom of the strainer. If you prefer thicker ricotta, let it sit 30 minutes - if you prefer thinner ricotta, let it sit 20 minutes.
When the ricotta is the thickness you prefer, it can be used immediately or refrigerated for about a week.