I've started making mine using the ff/sf instant pudding mix, and I love it! It does get really thick, but I like it like that. I mix mine with my hand mixer, and that works well. I'll have to try a little bit of half and half like franny suggested, that sounds great.
I have noticed that the different brands of ricotta really do make a difference in the flavor and the texture. The brand that I found I like the best is Sargento.
Ann, I also have tried the recipe for the lemon ricotta in the book, and it was very good. I did add more lemon zest than the recipe called for however, as I really love lemon flavor.
For anyone who is in phase 2, try mixing in a little fruit. I've added blueberries to vanilla ricotta (made with ff/sf vanilla pudding mix), and also to the lemon zest ricotta.
This weekend I'm going to try to flavor the ricotta with cinnamon and then add chopped apples.....not sure how that will work but I'll let you know if it's any good.