For the Lime Oil
Use a sharp citrus zester or a vegetable peeler to remove thin strips of peel from the citrus. You want to leave behind as much of the white pith as possible, capturing only the colorful zest.
Put the strips of peel into a small wide mouth jar, and pour just a little of the oil over the top. Muddle with the back of a wooden spoon to release the fragrant citrus oils.
Pour in the remaining oil to cover and screw on the lid.
Store the oil in a cool place for a few days before using. It will keep for up to 6 months.
For the Ricotta
In a large pot, combine the milk and cream. Adjust the burner to medium heat, and clip a thermometer to the side of the pot, and watch it carefully as it climbs to 190 °F, stirring occasionally. Do not let the dairy boil.
Remove from the heat, and add the lemon juice, stirring gently as you do so for half a minute.
Cover the pot with a clean dish towel and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour. The milk will slowly curdle over this time, separating into milky clouds of white curd and watery, opaque whey.
Line a colander or large sieve with cheesecloth, and set it over a large bowl. Gently pour the ricotta into the cheesecloth, allowing the whey to drain out. Let the ricotta drain for at least 30 minutes. For a denser cheese, allow it to drain for a longer period of time; 2 hours, or even overnight. The longer it drains, the thicker and drier the cheese becomes. The yield lessens as the whey drains away. For serving with lime oil, we liked the ricotta soft and pillowy, drained for just the basic 30 minutes.
Spoon the ricotta into a serving bowl. Drizzle generously with lime oil, and perhaps a few strands of thinly sliced lime zest plucked from the green oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with crusty bread, or on its own as a decadent side with a peppery salad.
To store any excess ricotta (ha!) transfer to a glass container with a tight-fitting lid, and refrigerate for up to 6 days. Save the whey and use it in bread, stews, or baking recipes; whey can be stored separately in the refrigerator for 4 days, or frozen for later use.
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