Do Italians use ricotta? (21+ recipes)

In this article, we will discuss whether Italians use ricotta and what delicious Italian recipes with ricotta you can make at home. We will also give you a step-by-step homemade ricotta cheese recipe.

Do Italians use ricotta?

Italians use ricotta, a fresh cheese highly recommended for filling ravioli or cannelloni. While the word “ricotta” has fallen into the public domain allowing many brands to use the term for cheeses that are not ricotta, real ricotta is a pure delight. 

In Italy, ricotta is usually made from pecorino cheese and milk.  Ricotta is annealed (cooked twice: the first for the cheese and the second for the ricotta). We cook the whey to drain it and recover the proteins. We thus obtain a kind of paste slightly grainy moist but not watery, delicate, and light.    

The oldest recipe and best-known ricotta is made from sheep’s milk but there are some

also based on cow milk, buffalo and even goat milk.

The production areas are multiple, mainly in central and southern Italy (hence the

famous ricotta romana) including Sicily and Sardinia. But we also find it in Piedmont, Lombardy or Friuli.

There are different types of Italian ricotta: fresh, salted and smoked.

Apart from the different types of milk used, there is the fresh ricotta, the most famous and the no longer used which is therefore not refined. 

For reasons of conservation and need for transport, we have dried and salted, baked or smoked ricotta. In these cases, it is firmer, tastier, sometimes almost so hard that you can grate it.

Italian ricotta recipes

Ricotta is a favorite ingredient that has accompanied the history of Italian cooking and has left its mark in many exquisite dishes.

The best time to consume it goes from spring until the end of summer when the sheep graze on the grass. And the best in absolute terms is that of spring, besides for Easter, many Italian dishes are based on ricotta.

Savory dishes with ricotta:

You can really use it on everything! With vegetables, pasta, to stuff meat or fish.  Just a few ideas:

  • Ricotta and spinach pancake lasagna
  • Ricotta gnocchi with pesto
  • Eggplant pasta à la Norma
  • Sorrentina cannelloni
  • Endive velouté with ricotta
  • Zucchini, ricotta and bottarga soup
  • Smoked salmon and ricotta rolls
  • Baked Ricotta
  • Gratin of sardines stuffed with ricotta
  • Giant ravioli with ricotta and runny egg
  • Ricotta Focaccia
  • Ricotta, asparagus and mortadella quiche
  • Pepper and ricotta cream.

Sweet dishes with ricotta:

  • Ricotta with just a little sugar and cinnamon or lemon zest
  • Neapolitan pastiera
  • Siciliani Cannoli
  • Sfogliatelle
  • Ricotta and chocolate crostata
  • Cassata siciliana in a glass
  • Ricotta mousse and candied pears
  • Ricotta-stuffed prunes (or even dates)
  • Chocolate ricotta and hazelnut cake
  • Ricotta cake
  • Lime cheesecake
  • Ricotta and raspberry tiramisù
  • Almond and lemon cake

Homemade ricotta cheese

If  you decide to make your own ricotta cheese, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 500 ml of whole or skimmed milk
  •  200 ml of liquid cream
  •  1 and 1/2 tablespoons of quality white vinegar
  •  1 teaspoon of salt

We will start by heating the milk with the cream and the teaspoon of salt. Bring it to a boil, when it starts to boil, remove the pot from the heat and add the vinegar, stirring well to mix. We will see that after five minutes the milk begins to cut and form lumps.

When this time passes it is time to pass it to a strainer with gauze to drain the serum. Let it drain for at least an hour, squeeze the gauze from time to time so that it releases the liquid well. When the hour passes it could be used, but if we are not in a hurry it can be left for eight hours draining in the refrigerated strainer. Then store in an airtight container, always in the fridge.

Ricotta cheese is a product that has a short duration, so it should not be consumed if when opening the container it had changed its pure white color to a yellowish tone. It should be used at most five days after its preparation, always keep it covered and with little air inside the container. I hope that with this recipe for how to make homemade ricotta cheese you will not resist any sweet or salty preparation where they ask you as an ingredient.

How to drain ricotta cheese

  1. Place the ricotta on the cheesecloth and gently squeeze it. Press firmly but slowly, starting at the top of the package to prevent the ricotta from squirting. Continue to squeeze and shake gently to remove as much water as possible.
  1. Cover the ricotta with a cloth or paper towel. A fine-mesh sieve may be the best way to drain well, but a colander can work too. Line the entire interior surface with cheesecloth or other fine mesh fabric.
  1. Serve and eat!

Conclusions

In this article, we discussed   whether Italians use ricotta and what delicious Italian recipes with ricotta you can make at home. We also have you a step-by-step homemade ricotta cheese recipe.

Ricotta is a favorite ingredient that has accompanied the history of Italian cooking and which has left its mark in many magnificent dishes.

The best time to consume it goes from spring until the end of summer when the sheep graze on the grass. And the best in absolute terms is that of spring, besides for Easter, many Italian dishes are based on ricotta.

If you have any comments or questions on the content, please let us know!

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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