Wow! Who knew that ricotta was so easy to make and so GOOD when you do it yourself?! Having leftover buttermilk on hand from my Irish Soda Bread making days that needed to be used before it went south, and having been told by a friend that buttermilk can be used to make ricotta, I decided to give it a go. It was wonderful and SO SIMPLE. I used it to make a Penne with Ricotta and Spinach Sauce, Asparagus, Ricotta and Mushroom Pizza, and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.
All you need to make this is:
1 gallon of whole milk
1 quart of buttermilk
Equipment: a large heavy pot, a mesh strainer and some cheesecloth.
Combine the milk and ricotta in a large 7 quart pot over low heat, stirring occasionally, very gently until warm. Curds will start to form. When mixture reaches 170 degrees, turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then line a mesh strainer with several layers of cheescloth, place over a bowl or the sink, and scoop curds into strainer. Spoon/pour liquid over until all the curds are in the strainer. Let strain over a bowl or the sink for at least an hour. Put ricotta into an airtight container and keep chilled. Use immediately or within a couple days.
Check out some of these recipes for ideas of what to use it for:
It is also really awesome crumbled on toast with a bit of honey or slivered nuts. Yum!