1 gallon Whole Milk (separate out 1/4 cup)
1 quart Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Salt
1/2 cup White Vinegar
1/2 cup Water
1. In a large stockpot on a medium-high flame, pour the Whole Milk (less 1/4 cup), Heavy Cream, and Salt. Stir occasionally until it boils.
2. Once the milk mixture boils, lower the flame to a medium-low flame and insert a thermometer. Let the mixture sit and simmer until the thermometer reads 190°F.
let's be Frank: There are some great thermometers out there, I prefer to use one that clips onto the side of the pot.
3. Now that the mixture has reached at least 190°F, remove the thermometer and pour in the Water and White Vinegar simultaneously. Stir the pot once.
let's be Frank: It's very important to only stir once. Eventhought it might be tempting, if you keep stiring at this stage, it will impact how the ricotta curdles.
4. Allow the liquid to continue to simmer and curdle into recognizable ricotta. After a few minutes, you'll begin to see the ricotta on the surface "pop" - it should look similar to a mini-volcano. When this happens, pour the 1/4 cup of Whole Milk that you reserved into the pot.
let's be Frank: By putting in the cold milk, it will briefly drop the temperature in the pot and allow for a second wave of curdling.
5. Turn off the flame, cover the pot, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
6. After 10 minutes, you can strain out the ricotta, add to pasta, and enjoy.
let's be Frank: After straining out the ricotta curds, be sure to save about 1 cup of liquid from the pot. This can be used to "reinvigorate" the ricotta if you removed too much liquid during the straining process.
let's be Frank: While optional, some people find that a sprinkle of sugar on the ricotta can further bring out the flavor.
let's be Frank: This ricotta is served best with a pasta that really grabs the ricotta. Typically, my preference is Campanelle but shells or Fusilli work well also.