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Jun 3, 2007 09:38 AM

Ricotta - favorite use?

I bought a small 16 oz. tub of part-skim ricotta a couple of weeks ago for a lasagna, but ended up not making the recipe I had planned to make.

I've got a couple of pasta recipes that use ricotta in the sauce (with lots of herbs) but they're just not striking me as good right now.

What are your favorite uses for ricotta? Sweet or savory. (P.S. I'm not planning on using the ricotta tonight; just looking for some inspiration for later in the week.)

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  1. I am forever plugging this recipe, but it really is one of my absolute favourite things to eat: ricotta whipped with honey and vanilla, served over berries. (Note: though the recipe calls for tossing the fruit with lemon juice, I find it even better to macerate them in some kind of alcohol - Crème de Cassis is my current choice.)

    4 Replies
    1. re: chloe103

      I like that one, too. It's even better when you toss in a handful of chocolate chips.

      1. re: chloe103

        And I have strawberries. Lovely, gorgeous, beautifully red strawberries. (Which I hope are ultra-sweet as well!). This sounds good - I have some Cuarenta y Tres (Licor 43) that would be a great macerating liqueur for this lovely dessert - thanks Chloe!

        1. re: LindaWhit

          what you are describing is called "gnudi" - meaning "naked pasta" of sorts - without the semolina or potato. You can dredge in flour or cornmeal before dropping in low boil water. Your recipe is typical of the preparation yet you could also combine mixture with chopped spinach. To serve, toss in a "burro e salvia" sauce (butter/sage) and top with parmigiano reggiano.

          1. re: lisacasty

            Hmn, you responded this to a post about strawberries but I think maybe you are talking to me?

            My understanding (just from recipes I've used) is that traditionally gnudi are significantly larger than gnocchi -- I've used Giada's recipe for gnudi which does include spinach, and her gnudi are about 4-5X as big as I would ever make gnocchi. Otherwise I agree that they are quite similar and in any case, I think gnudi would be another good possibility for the OP.

            (I don't know if maybe I'm missing another difference but I have definitely been served "Ricotta Gnocchi" in Italian restaurants many times; do you think they're just dumbing it down for us Americanos?)

      2. I love ricotta, and I often keep it in the house just to put a dollop on top of pasta, or as an omelet filling (usually ricotta mixed with spinach or mushrooms then)... and I definitely eat it straight out of the carton when no one's watching.

        You do have kindof a lot though, so an actual recipe might be in order. What about ricotta gnocchi? Much, much easier than potato gnocchi -- and recipe is below. I don't have a recipe for cannolis, but I'm pretty sure that filling is ricotta-based as well.

        1 15- to 16-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese or 15 ounces strained fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
        1 large egg
        1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
        1 teaspoon salt
        1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
        1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
        2/3 cup all purpose flour, plus additional for dredging
        Mix ricotta, egg, 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in bowl. Stir in 2/3 cup flour. Cover and chill mixture at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place flour for dredging in flat bowl. For each gnocchi, shape 1 tablespoon ricotta mixture into ball (I use two spoons, I guess you could use your palms if you wanted them really round), then drop into bowl of flour, tossing to coat. Transfer gnocchi to baking sheet. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap; chill.)
        Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Working in 2 batches, add gnocchi and cook until tender and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to sauce or serving dish.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Adrienne

          Adrienne - Looks good enough to try. But I'm wondering, on your first ingredients, what the difference is between "1 15- to 16-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese or 15 ounces strained fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese." Just the straining? Like in cheesecloth? What does it do in this recipe?

          1. re: ClaireWalter

            I always use normal containers of ricotta cheese, but I think if you were to buy fresh ricotta, it's much more moist, so it would mess up the texture/binding of the gnocchi if you didn't strain it. You do strain using a cheesecloth, just letting it rest for a few hours I think.

            I usually use part-skim ricotta, and this recipe works just fine, because the parmesan is whole-fat so it's enough to hold it together.

        2. I love ricotta, and always have some in the house. My favorite uses are:

          - spread on toast, topped with jalepeno jelly or a not so sweet orange marmalade
          - with roasted tomatoes and garlic (roast tomatoes w/ garlic & OO in 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down into a more 'saucy' texture)
          - mixed with fresh savory herbs (or just S&P), then used as a topping for something like a vegetable oven pancake (something like , but with any vegetables on hand)
          - with grilled figs, drizzled with honey

          the ricotta gnocchi above looks delicious too!

          1. pedestrian but simple and quite often hits the spot for breakfast or lunch. a layer of ricotta on toast or, my preference, something like ten grain bread with nuts. stud the ricotta with an even layer of closely spaced golden raisins. good open face or full sandwhich. toasted english muffin. ricotta, strawberry jam - the kind with big hunks of fruit. excellent with bluebery preserves as well.

            1. I love love love ricotta pancakes. This is a good, and easy recipe (and it uses the whole tub!)--you can easily subsitute the orange rind for lemon, or lime, or a combo, but the citrus is essential.

              They don't need syrup or anything. Delicious on their own. Even my 2 year old asks for them.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Budino

                Oh, I definitely agree ... and recently I made this with sheep's milk ricotta.