True confession: this is not truly ricotta. Traditionally, ricotta cheese is made from whey, a byproduct of making more solid cheese. But with just three ingredients — Milk, cream, lemon juice — and about half hour of your time — you can make a homemade approximation that is far and away better than most of what you will find in a tub in the supermarket dairy case.
What You Need:
4 cups whole milk (not skim, not 2%, not non-fat. Thank you.)
1 cup cream
1 teaspoons kosher salt
Cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve
What To Do:
Pour milk, cream, salt, and 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice in a saucepan. Don’t stir, and bring just to a boil. When it starts to bubble, immediately remove pan from heat.
Let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes at room temperature. Over the 15 minutes, the curds will begin to separate from the whey. If the curds seem to be too scanty and you still see a lot of un-separated milk, it may be that your lemon may not be acidic enough. Add another tablespoon lemon juice and very gently stir it in, so you don't break up the curds too much, and let stand for another 5 minutes.
Using a large spoon, scoop the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve set over a large bowl. Let drain for about 40 minutes — the longer you drain the ricotta, the more dense and flavorful the cheese will be. If it becomes too dry, you can add back in some of the whey.
To make ricotta salata, wrap your finished ricotta in cheesecloth and place in the fridge overnight, pressed between two weighted plates.