If you have the time, pass on buying Ricotta from the store.  It is an effortless cheese to make in the kitchen and the finished product is incredibly appealing. A few basic ingredients plus a gallon of milk and you are there. Heat 3 cups of milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, and a 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt to 190ºF. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching. Remove from heat, lightly stir in 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Rest undisturbed for 5 minutes. Get a large bowl, line a colander with cheese cloth above it, and pour the curds in. Let the curds strain for at least an hour. Once time passes, you will be left with tender, spreadable Ricotta.  Finish with EVOO, S&P, and fresh bread.  Easily vary the flavor profile by substituting the acid with vinegar or buttermilk and/or the addition of fresh herbs.

Want to expand into usage as an ingredient, rather than making the Ricotta the star? Try these ideas:

Ricotta-Cannellini Dip with Toasted Pita

Ricotta Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Chives

Lamb and Ricotta Crespelle – Italian Crepe

Sausage and Ricotta Jalapeno Poppers

Orange Ricotta Pancakes