I read in this month's Food and Wine magazine how easy it is to make your own ricotta. I, of course, had to try it out. I couldn't find the recipe online, so I used a hybrid of my memory of the recipe with this one.
Basically, you take 1 quart whole milk and 3/4 cup half-and-half or cream and bring it to a near-boil (185F). Add some salt (1 pinch to 1/2 teaspoon) and 2 T lemon juice or white vinegar* and stir for 30 seconds. It's gonna get clumpy and start separating into curds and whey. Cover and let sit for about 1 hour (it will get even more clumpy and separated).
Then, pour it into a colander lined with cheesecloth (I used what I had) set over a bowl and let it sit and drain for another hour.
And voila! You have yourself some delicious ricotta cheese!
Turn it into a cheesecake or baked penne or just eat it with some honey drizzled over top (then go for a long walk to burn off them calories). Next time I'll try it with lower fat milk. And anyone know what you can do with the whey? Seemed wasteful to toss it.
* I used lemon juice, but next time I'll use vinegar for a more neutral flavor. If you're going to use it in a lemony dish, it doesn't really matter, but mine tasted a bit too lemony for my liking.