Ricotta, in Italy, is traditionally made from the whey left over after cheesemaking (ricotta actually means re-cooked, or cooked again, in Italian, and it's considered not a cheese but more of a cheese byproduct).
I love ricotta, I love making my own anything from scratch, but let's be practical. It's not likely I'll get my hands on some whey, so here's the next best thing. Thanks to Erica Demane, I can! Oh, and by the way, it's just as lovely!
To make about a pound of ricotta:
2 quarts whole milk
1 quart goat's milk (or a third quart of whole milk)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup lemon juice, about 1 large lemon's worth
Pour the milk into a large saucepan. Add the sea salt and stir to blend it into the milk (the salt is very important for bringing out the flavor in the finished ricotta). Bring to a very low boil over medium heat. Add the lemon juice and stir briefly to blend. Bring back to a very low boil and cook about a minute. You will start to see little white particles coagulate on the surface. This means the curds are starting to form. Don't let the milk cook any longer than about a minute or you may wind up with hard, dry curds instead of the soft, creamy texture you are after. Remove the pot from the heat, and cover. Let the ricotta sit for about 20 minutes untouched. This will allow bigger, more substantial curds to form.
Line a colander or a tightly woven wicker basket with cheesecloth or a thin cotton cloth like a piece of bed sheet. Gently pour the ricotta into the cloth, being careful not to break up the curds too much (the best approach is to tilt the pot against the colander or basket right up at the rim; free-fall pouring may be too violent). Let this drain, unrefrigerated, for about an hour. You will now have a rather moist ricotta, the way I like it. If you prefer it drier, you can tie and hang the cheese cloth over the sink or over a bowl so the ricotta can drain more thoroughly. The ricotta is ready to use. You may refrigerate it, but it will stay really fresh and sweet only for about two days. If you plan on baking with the ricotta, drain it well.
Cross posted here.