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Ricotta cheese is the workhorse of cheeses: It may be incorporated into sweet dishes as well as savory (try a ricotta cheesecake, or blend with cream cheese to make tiramisu). While it's delicious stirred into pasta, I also like to eat homemade ricotta on bread with a drizzle of honey, fresh basil and even a few blackberries — or just scooped up plain, from the bowl.

Ricotta i
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR

Makes 3 cups

8 cups whole milk

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Line a large sieve with a layer of fine-mesh cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.

Slowly bring milks, cream and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain for an hour. After discarding the liquid, cover and chill the ricotta. It will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.



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