Ricotta cheese is a soft fresh cheese made from the whey left over after making other cheeses — usually cow’s milk cheeses.
Varieties of ricotta
In addition to “regular”, there are three additional varieties of ricotta.
- Ricotta Salata Moliterna (uses whey from sheep’s milk);
- Ricotta Piemontese (uses whey from cow’s milk + 10% regular cow’s milk);
- Ricotta Romana (ricotta made from the whey left over when making Romano cheese).
In North America, you will find many other varieties as well, such as ricotta made from whole milk, partially-skim milk, etc.
The whey is heated to 77 C (170 F.) Citric acid is added, then the temperature raised further to 85 C. (185 F) The heat curdles the whey by causing the proteins in the whey to coagulate without the need for rennet to be added. The curds are skimmed off and let drain for two days. The cheese is then ready to be sold and eaten.
Ricotta is very good to use when you need something to bind ingredients in a recipe together.
Or, try Pressed Cottage Cheese.
1 cup ≈ 8 oz. in weight ≈ 250 g
Refrigerate. Discard if any mould appears (do not try to scoop mould out and keep on using.)
Freezing ricotta: put sealed tub in freezer. When thawing, stir any liquid on top back in. Don’t use microwave to speed up thawing. Thawed ricotta may be grainier than fresh ricotta, but that should not be overly apparent if used in cooking with other ingredients.
Ricotta > ri (re) + cotta (cooked), referring to heating the whey a second time (the first time was when the whey was created during the making of another cheese.)