Ricotta is a beautiful thing: I like to use it in everything from gnocchi to pancakes. But I rarely just have it around; here’s a quick way to make a perfectly passable substitute with ingredients you probably have sitting around your kitchen. It’s not technically ricotta (which is made from the whey that is a byproduct of cheesemaking), but as an ingredient it does just the trick.
All you need is:
4 cups milk
2 T lemon juice or vinegar (white, red wine, and apple vinegars all work fine)
In a heavy pot, heat the milk on low it until it’s just about to boil. Just before it foams up, turn off the heat, mix in the lemon juice or vinegar (give it a good stir), and let cool. It should start to separate into curds & whey.
Once it reaches room temperature, strain it in a colander lined with a cheesecloth (or a thin dish towel, or high quality paper towel). You’re done!