Ricotta is a rather tasty, surprisingly quick & easy to make byproduct of making other cheeses. Essentially, you take the leftover whey after you have scooped out the curds for your other cheeses, then curdle it.
So, seeing as I had about 3 litres of whey left from making two batches of Halloumi, I figured I may as well give it a shot. First you heat the why up to 90 degrees, and then begin putting white vinegar in until you can see small specks of curds forming. I assume you could potentially use lemon juice at this point, though perhaps you would need more of it than the vinegar and it may impart some flavour to the cheese.
The good thing about starting off with these kits is that they come with everything you need. And the good thing about having lovely friends and family like I do is that they get you not one, but two different kits. In the Italian Cheese Kit you get a Ricotta mould, which, sensibly, is where I scooped the curds that had settled at the top of the pot after sitting off the heat for about 10 minutes.
I think I possibly could have let the cheese sit in that basket to drain off a little bit more of the whey, but as you can see, once it was dumped out into a container it looks basically how the bought ones do. Then it was just a matter of figuring out what to do with it!
Normally I mix it with chopped spinach and make canneloni, but I wanted to try something else, so after googling for a while I found that a common combination was pasta, peas and Ricotta. That sounded tasty enough so I made up a batch or two for some lunches.
Sweat some finely chopped shallots in olive oil while you boil some pasta - I chose seashell shapes, but a lot of recipes mentioned orechiette. Once both were cooked I tossed them together with some thawed frozen baby peas, a dash or two of lemon juice and some chopped basil & parsley.
I probably should have let it cool down a little first as the peas ended up close to being over done, but not enough to ruin the whole thing. Then it was simply a matter of tossing through the ricotta and to round out the dish I added some prosciutto which helped add a saltiness that was a bit lacking.
The final result was quite tasty indeed, especially when it started off as leftovers from something else delicious!