You Should Never Buy This Store-Bought Cheese, According To Ina Garten

Ina Garten is hardly afraid of taking a few shortcuts in her cooking, and that doesn't just refer to her many party-planning tips, like to prep as many things ahead of time as possible (via Tasting Table). The 73-year-old is also a fan of making simple recipes, and while she is frequently heard preaching about the use of "good" ingredients (via Showbiz CheatSheet), she doesn't necessarily mean that they have to be an expensive, top-of-the-line version from a specialty store, or even made from scratch. 

As Showbiz CheatSheet notes, the celebrity chef has no issues with using store-bought ingredients in some of the recipes she demonstrates on her wildly popular cooking show The Barefoot Contessa, and she often encourages her followers to do the same when she utters these five words: "Store-bought is just fine."

That being said, Garten also knows that not all store-bought ingredients are as good as, say, her favorite Rao's jarred marinara sauce or Grey Poupon mustard (via Bon Appétit). According to Food Network, the cookbook author has a short list of items that she suggests you take a little extra time to whip up at home, one of which in particular almost seems easier to make yourself than it does to go out and buy from the store.

Ina Garten says you should be making fresh ricotta cheese at home

We all know that some cheeses get better with age. However, when it comes to ricotta, fresh is the way to go. For Ina Garten, there's no better way to get ricotta for her favorite recipe than by making it from scratch at home. According to Food Network, the chef "never went back to store-bought" after realizing how easy it was to whip up the dairy product herself.

Garten's recipe for ricotta cheese is, in fact, pretty simple, requiring only four ingredients in total: whole milk, heavy cream, white wine vinegar, and salt, as well as the use of a pan, bowl, cheesecloth, and sieve (via Food Network). To make it, she adds the milk, cream, and salt to a pan on the stove. Once they come to a boil, Garten removes the pan from the heat and adds a touch of white wine vinegar to the mixture, which she allows to sit until it curdles. Finally, she drains the concoction by pouring it into the sieve that has been lined with cheesecloth and set over a bowl, and that's it! 

By following Garten's tutorial, you can have fresh ricotta cheese to take your pasta to the next level without having to make an extra trip to the grocery store. And if you happen to give Garten's homemade ricotta cheese recipe a try, there are plenty of creative ways to use up any leftovers you may have.