Help me cheese it up.
July 8, 2011 11:34 AM   Subscribe

What do you do with ricotta cheese?

An episode of Masterchef sparked this question. One of the contestants made a tart featuring a spread of ricotta mixed with mustard, and another made a ricotta butter sauce for ravioli.

What do you mix with ricotta, cook with it, or eat it on? I'm looking for tasty ways to eat or use ricotta which I may not have thought of.
posted by cp311 to Food & Drink (40 answers total) 78 users marked this as a favorite
A topping for thick tomato-heavy soups. Mmm.
posted by griphus at 11:35 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lemon zest and ricotta make for some awesome pancakes.
posted by ODiV at 11:37 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Lemon ricotta pancakes.
Noodle kugel.
Spooned on top of lamb or mushroom ragout, on top of fresh, hot pasta.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:38 AM on July 8, 2011

(Shakes fist at ODiV)
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:38 AM on July 8, 2011

Lasagna, pizza topping, garnish for a bowl of tomato-sauced pasta
posted by Jahaza at 11:39 AM on July 8, 2011

Holy balls, ricotta cookies. They are SO GOOD.

-2 cups sugar
-1 cup butter, softened
-1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2 large eggs
-4 cups flour
-2 tablespoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt

-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
-3 tablespoons milk
-colored sugar crystals (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat sugar and butter until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. At medium speed, beat in ricotta, vanilla, and eggs until well combined.

2. Reduce speed to low. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; beat until dough forms.

3. Drop dough by level tablespoons, about 2 inches apart, onto ungreased large cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until cookies are very lightly golden (cookies will be soft). Cool on a cooling rack.

4. When cookies are cool, prepare icing: In small bowl, stir powdered sugar and milk until smooth. With small metal spatula or knife, spread icing on cookies; sprinkle with sugar crystals. Set cookies aside to allow icing to dry completely, about 1 hour.
posted by phunniemee at 11:41 AM on July 8, 2011 [14 favorites]

I put it in oatmeal, add green peppers and mushroom, and a hard-boiled egg. I love savory oatmeal.
posted by noonday at 11:44 AM on July 8, 2011

My mom's summer strawberries-and-ricotta breakfast: Slice fresh strawberries into a bowl. In another bowl, mix a large spoonful or two of ricotta with half a teaspoon of sugar and enough milk to make it the consistency of thin yogurt. Pour over strawberries and enjoy. (You don't want the ricotta sauce to be too sweet or it'll overwhelm the berries, so start with half a teaspoon of sugar and work up if you think it needs more.)
posted by Lexica at 11:46 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ricotta gnocchi.
posted by dersins at 11:46 AM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Lavender Honey Ricotta ice cream is not only tastier than you suppose, it is tastier than you can suppose.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:47 AM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

Really quick but oh-so-tasty cake (even though it is cheating a bit since, yes, the cake part comes from a box).
posted by zizzle at 11:50 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I make fresh ricotta (1:1 ratio whole milk to buttermilk, heated until curds form) and then I make my famous White Pizza - rub dough w/ very small amount of olive oil, top with generous ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and arugula. Hit it with a little parm when it comes out of a screaming hot oven - Enjoy!

(the secret to great pizza crust, by the way, is one of these $3 to $6 items. Yep. A pizza screen!)
posted by jbenben at 11:50 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I put it (fresh only!) in a small bowl, drizzle honey on top, sprinkle with salt, crack some pepper over it, and serve it with walnut raisin bread. To. Die. For.
posted by thinkpiece at 11:50 AM on July 8, 2011

In a bowl:

Truffle oil and ground pepper to taste

Spoon it on some crusty bread and enjoy while fixing dinner.
posted by emelenjr at 11:53 AM on July 8, 2011

seconding putting it in a bowl with honey and salt.
I use it in lasagne.
posted by bilabial at 11:58 AM on July 8, 2011

I use ricotta to make Nigella Lawson's Ricotta Hotcakes. They are SO GOOD.
posted by netsirk at 11:59 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I make a ricotta pasta sauce. Mix it with a splash of milk, a bit of roasted garlic, a couple turns of pepper, and some parsley and it becomes a delicious sauce.

you can also add spinach - thawed frozen, or lightly cooked baby, or whatever. Goes well with roasted pinoles.
posted by entropone at 12:06 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Mildly adapted from one of the Moosewood cookbooks, <5>
1 lb ricotta
4 oz melted baking chocolate, or ~4 tbsp cocoa powder
honey/maple syrup/sugar to taste

Whip in blender/mixer/food processor until smooth. Try not to eat it all at once (even though it's full of protein and calcium and chocolate).
posted by nonane at 12:09 PM on July 8, 2011

I've never made it myself, but one of my most fondly remembered pieces of cheesecake was made with ricotta instead of cream cheese.

Cannoli filling.

A calzone isn't a calzone without ricotta cheese. (I wish someone would tell that to all the pizza places around here.)
posted by usonian at 12:10 PM on July 8, 2011

shoulda previewed. "<5 minute chocolate mousse"
posted by nonane at 12:10 PM on July 8, 2011

You can use ricotta in any Ukrainian or Russian recipies that call for tvorog (East European cottage cheese). My favorite thing is easy ricotta perogies.

This girl makes amazing perogies!
posted by ivanka at 12:14 PM on July 8, 2011

Make pasta with sausage, tomato and ricotta (I skipped the feta).

Or use it to stuff courgette flowers
posted by shiny shoes at 12:19 PM on July 8, 2011

posted by trip and a half at 12:27 PM on July 8, 2011

Oooh, manicotti reminds me: stuffed pasta shells!

With squash and sage:

- 1/2 pound large pasta shells (you could also use cannelloni)
- 1/2 of a small butternut squash, about a pound
- 1 cup grated mozzarella
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 1/2 cups white sauce
- small handful fresh sage leaves
- fresh black pepper and salt to taste
- red pepper chili flakes to taste
- tiny pinch of cinnamon and some nutmeg, if you like
- optional: 4 slices of bacon, fried and diced

To cook:
- Cut the squash into 1″ slices and put on an oiled baking tray. Brush with olive oil, season, and bake at 325° until tender and a little brown on the edges. Cool, strip off any rind if it’s tough, and break into chunks.
- Mix together the squash, mozzarella, minced sage, and ricotta. (Save out a handful of the mozzarella to put on top later). Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. You can add a little cinnamon and the nutmeg if you like, but I found that the roasted squash was sweet and warm-tasting enough without it. (Add bacon if using.)
- Cook the pasta until al dente, drain, and rinse with cool water. (Don’t let them sit around too long before filling them or they’ll all stick together.) Fill each shell with the squash mixture and put in a shallow baking dish.
- Pour on the white sauce and cover with the Parmesan, mozzarella, and more fresh black pepper.
- Bake uncovered at 325° until cheese is well melted.

With chard:

- 1 pound large pasta shells (I’ve used cannelloni when shells aren’t available)
- 2 bunches chard (my mom didn’t use chard in her recipe, but I like it a lot)
- 2 cloves garlic
- big glug olive oil
- 1 tub ricotta cheese (about 1 pound)
- 1 pound mozzarella
- handful grated Parmesan
- 3 cups of tomato sauce (or 1 25 oz jar)
- salt and fresh ground black pepper

To cook:
- Boil the shells in salted water until al dente, drain, rinse, cover, and set aside.
- De-rib and chop the chard, and cook in olive oil over medium heat until quite soft.
- Add crushed garlic to the chard, cook for two or three minutes. Add salt to taste and allow to cool a bit.
- In a large bowl, mix the chard, ricotta, Parmesan, and 1/2 the grated mozzarella. Pepper liberally and add salt if needed.
- Stuff each shell with a tablespoon or so of the cheese mixture, and place in a large baking pan.
- Top with the sauce and the rest of the grated mozzarella.
- Cover with foil and bake at 350° for about 1/2 an hour. If you like, remove the foil for the last ten minutes, so it gets golden brown.

If you’re not fond of chard (or want to make the dish a bit more delicately flavoured) omit it and the garlic, and just add lots of fresh chopped basil to your cheese mix.

Both of these are really good leftover; I don’t even mind them cold straight from the fridge.
posted by Specklet at 12:40 PM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

I am so glad that I finally have a reason to share a link to this ricotta, tomato, and avocado sandwich with someone. I eat a homemade version of it for breakast way too often.
posted by rabidsegue at 12:51 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes!
posted by janepanic at 1:00 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Artichoke Kale Ricotta Pie. Six ingredients, super easy, and you can substitute other vegetables as you wish.
posted by judith at 1:26 PM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

I like to serve baked beets that are lightly sauteed in olive oil and tossed with sea salt on top of fresh ricotta, with slices of bread on the side. Very tasty and the color contrast is great as well.
posted by fyrebelley at 1:48 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Heat some olive oil with a chopped clove of garlic or two in a pan. Throw in washed and chopped greens, whatever you have laying around. Spinach, chard, kale, watercress, whatever -- a mix is fine. Make sure they have a bit of moisture still on the leaves from washing, and add slow-cooking greens earlier (e.g. kale before chard before spinach). Cook just until wilted, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and nutmeg. Throw this in a blender with about an equal volume of ricotta until it is uniformly green, and then serve it over small pasta, like little shells or spirals. Parmesan and/or tomatoes and/or basil on top are optional. This is so delicious, and a fantastic way to use up a giant pile of greens that you don't know what else to do with.
posted by vytae at 2:36 PM on July 8, 2011

I second cannoli filling. It's hard to screw up as long as you remember to either drain the ricotta or buy a less watery brand. I've also made a really good carrot cake frosting by using ricotta instead of cream cheese. Ricotta is great for deserts in general.
posted by WhitenoisE at 2:37 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ricotta is incredibly versatile, as it complements bot sweet and savory flavors. It has a nice texture for eating cold, and a low melting point if you want to cook with it.

Ricotta and honey on top of a slab of fried polenta makes for a wonderful snack.
I use a seasoned mixture of eggs and ricotta for lasagna and ravioli stuffing.
Fresh fruit and ricotta is perfect for stuffing crepes.
posted by lekvar at 2:43 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Has anyone said blintzes yet? Just imagine ricotta-crepe burritos.
posted by zomg at 3:17 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

My favorite way to eat ricotta right now: slices of cucumber topped with about a teaspoon of ricotta, and then either a caper or an olive. I used to grate pepper over the whole thing; these days I sprinkle on a bunch of dried mint. It's my favorite summer meal.
posted by punchtothehead at 3:29 PM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

I saw this recipe in Parade Magazine last month for frittata: they put dollops of ricotta cheese sprinkled around the top just as it's starting to cook. Don't stir it in just make lumps all over the top. So good.
posted by CathyG at 8:58 PM on July 8, 2011

Response by poster: All of these sound amazing! I was going to make ricotta earlier but used up all the buttermilk for onion rings.. Perhaps I'll try it soon.

Mix it with a splash of milk, a bit of roasted garlic, a couple turns of pepper, and some parsley and it becomes a delicious sauce.

That sounds like a pasta sauce I've made, but I used goat cheese and some butter instead of ricotta.
posted by cp311 at 9:32 PM on July 8, 2011

Breakfast around here has been toasted country bread topped with Nutella and ricotta.
posted by rebeccabeagle at 9:43 PM on July 8, 2011

maple syrup
posted by weaponsgradecarp at 1:18 AM on July 9, 2011

Cannoli cream which is ricotta,powdered sugar, valilla and oil of cinamon(real canolli filling this is a must have).

You can use the canolli filling as a cake frosting on top of angel food cake. Just make sure you run the ricotta through cheese cloth first to make sure it makes a thick cream.
posted by majortom1981 at 7:41 AM on July 9, 2011

Many things. This is a rather nice one.
posted by Decani at 11:16 AM on July 9, 2011

Ricotta on toast wth banana slices drizzled with honey. Nom.
posted by kjs4 at 9:31 PM on July 10, 2011

« Older I'm not very good at barely getting by   |   I chose you over 10% more money. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.