Cheesecloth-lined copper strainer with fresh ricotta.
Photography & Art Direction: Anthony Contrino – Food Styling: Katie Stilo

Before youse come at me, this isn’t technically “real” ricotta.  Ricotta means twice cooked because it is traditionally made using whey leftover from the cheesemaking process.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t normally have whey on hand, so this is how I make it at home.  It is quick, easy and super tasty.  While you can use vinegar, I find lemon results in a more tender curd and gives it a wonderful citrus essence.


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8


  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 very large lemon, strained to remove pulp and seeds


  • Line a large colander with 90-grade unbleached, pure cotton cheesecloth.
  • In a large, non-reactive stockpot, warm the milk, cream and salt, over medium high heat, stirring every now and then.
  • Bring to a gentle simmer and remove from the heat.
  • Add the lemon juice and stir to combine; let sit for 2 minutes, undisturbed.
  • Strain the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined colander.
  • Gather the cheesecloth to make a bundle, secure with twine and let hang over a bowl for 1 hour.
  • Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use, for up to 3 days.


The ricotta will be at its lightest the day it’s made, once refrigerated it will become more dense. Remove from the fridge 1 to 2 hours before serving.
If you are using the ricotta in a dessert or baking project, you’ll want a thicker, less wet ricotta. If you are serving it over pasta, feel free to cut the draining time by up to as much as 30 minutes.
Course: Condiments
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino