Place butter in a medium bowl and cream with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in milk and orange zest; beat until combined.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
Combine sugar, orange zest, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Add ricotta, buttermilk and melted butter and whisk until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Melt a teaspoon of butter in the pan, swirling to coat the whole surface. Ladle ¼ cup of batter onto the skillet and let the pancake cook for 3-5 minutes, or until bubbles form in the center and the bottom browns. Flip and cook another 3-5 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. Transfer to a plate and repeat buttering the pan and cooking pancakes until all of the batter has been used.
Serve with a generous scoop of whipped orange butter and maple syrup.