Cheese making is usually thought to be an arduous and trying exercise and only worth while if you are raising your own sheep for their milk and have a cave tucked away in your back yard to age the cheese in. That may be with the firm cheeses.
Soft cheeses like ricotta are a piece of cake!
All you need is 4 cups whole milk and 1 cup buttermilk. And some cheesecloth.
Combine milk and buttermilk over medium-low heat in a heavy pan like a Dutch oven. Heat slowly until mixture is steaming, but not boiling, and starts to separate into curds and whey. This took about 15 minutes.
If you have a slotted spoon, scoop curds out of whey and place them in cheesecloth lined mesh colander and allow to drain and set for at least 20 minutes. You can blend in salt or olive oil or freshly minced herbs if you want or you can dot it onto pizza or spread on toast. It is not so good for baking with as this has a lot of moisture in it.
I got this recipe out of Ethan Stowell's New Italian Kitchen. His recipe then called for mixing the ricotta with a little olive oil and spreading it on toasted baguette slices and topped with a homemade parsley/anchovy salsa. I took these to our wine tasting last weekend and they were all devoured.
The top photo I used my new ajvar dip(roasted red pepper spread) instead of the parsley/anchovy mix.
One batch ends up making 1-2 cups of ricotta and works out much cheaper than store bought.