Some time ago, I read that making ricotta at home was easy. And it was! Embarrassingly so. And, no, this is not one of those times when I say it is easy but really that is because I have the right tools, some experience, and a skilled sous chef (Phineas). This really is easy - only slightly more difficult than watching a pot boil. And takes only about the same amount of time. Here goes:
Now, watch the pot get hot. At around 165 degrees, you will start to see curds. At 175 the magic really starts to happen and a layer of curds will form.
Scoop the curds into a collander lined with a few layers of cheese cloth as they form. By 185 degrees the magic will be all done and you are left with a pot of whey.
Let your cheese drain as much as you want (5 min for loose, 15 for drier cheese), add a little salt and let it cool in a container.
And that is it! The only tip is to not stir too much since that will make your curds rubbery. I used 1/2 gallon of milk to 1 pt of buttermilk. It yielded about 2 cups of cheese. Mine came out a bit crumbly. Next time I will drain it less.
Anyway, armed with my home made cheese, I raided the freezer. I used the second half of the gnocchi I made 2 weeks ago, italian sausage and some peas from the farmers market that Phineas had blanched and frozen, and made gnocchi tossed with sausage and peas. I topped it off with blobs of ricotta and some left over basil. Perfect!