Almost daily I am in awe of how many meals can be created from such humble ingredients.  And I feel blessed in a sense that the economy has thrown us some interesting curve balls - because if it wasn’t for the fact that our lifestyle had to adjust ... I would have likely never looked into cooking and creating as much!  Blessings come in disguises!

I seriously have been wanting to try this for a long time and it wasn’t until the last trip to the store - where I decided to price out the store-bought Ricotta with the recipe I’ve been holding onto.  What a shocker ... and the taste is so much better - It’s an all around win!!

To me - the Ricotta that I used to purchase - it always had a somewhat kind of grainy texture.  And not a lot of taste.  I know of many people who substitute Cottage Cheese in their lasagna instead of Ricotta - first because of the price and next because of the taste and texture.  So if you are one of those people - perhaps this will inspire you to join me.

Once you make this - you’ll be thinking of so many uses for it ... not to mention the obvious things like pastas!  I’ll be stirring this into soups to give them a creamy texture, slathering it on crusty bread - mixing it with herbs for a beautiful party spread ... you name it!

This recipe comes from Ina Garten, “Barefoot Contessa”.  I cut her recipe in half and it worked beautifully.  So therefore, I think it’s pretty safe to say you could double this recipe as well.  And if you’re going to make a big batch of lasagna or perhaps put it out with some bread for a twist or a condiment on the typical game day food of chili and hot wings ... you may want double.  Addictive.

The whole entire process only takes about 45 minutes.  And most of the time is not hands-on cooking - yay!

You’ll need milk, heavy cream and white wine vinegar.  I love buying heavy cream because it stays good in the refrigerator for like ages - ok, weeks maybe.  I buy ours at the warehouse club for about $3.50 or less for a quart.  That’s 4 cups of cream.  I use it in the Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, I use it in casseroles  like my Creamy, Cheesy and Beefy Mexican Casserole, in pan sauces like the Boursin Cream Sauce and in soups and pastas like the Creamy Lemon Egg Noodles, so it never goes to waste and I deem it worth the money.

I added 2 cups of whole milk and 1 cup of heavy cream to a Dutch oven - any heavy-bottomed pan should work.  To the pan, I also added kosher salt.  I brought this mixture up to a rolling boil.

While the milk, cream and salt were coming up to a boil, I lined a mesh colander with a dampened double layer of cheesecloth.  Be sure to give yourself enough cheesecloth to squeeze out the ricotta once it’s done.  Then I set the colander over a bowl to catch the liquid as it drained.

Once the milk, cream and salt were up to a boil - I turned off the heat and stirred in the white wine vinegar.  Other recipes I’ve seen use white distilled vinegar - so whatever you have on hand would likely work.  You need the acid.

Within a couple of minutes - your milk/cream mixture will begin to curdle and separate into “thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey)”.

Once this happens, pour the mixture into the mesh colander and allow it to drain - at room temperature - for about 20 - 25 minutes.  I let mine go about 30 - and started squeezing the excess moisture out after 20.

I wanted it thick and rich.  And that’s exactly what I got ... and I am elated at the fact that I could just refrigerate the leftovers and it stayed firm until it was gone!  It didn’t separate or anything and still had an amazing taste - yum.

I served it this particular night with some Asiago Cheese Bread - so all I did was drizzle a little EVOO over the top and sat back and enjoyed every bite.

I have a feeling you’ll be seeing this featured in recipes over the next upcoming weeks and months.  I could kick myself for not trying this earlier - so lesson learned - really ask yourself when you’re procrastinating - what’s it going to take in order to take action ... for me - it started with a lifestyle adjustment - and a simple price comparison to save money at mealtime... and now, there is no comparison.