Ricotta...tell me what you do with it
Silly me...I'm a sucker for a sale.
I bought some ricotta that will need using up very soon. Can it be frozen?
What do YOU do when you have a surplus of ricotta. Putting together something as time consuming as lasagne doesn't appeal to me right now, and I AM cooking for one.
Can I use it instead of cream cheese in baking, such as cheesecake?
How about a savoury cheese pie, maybe similar to a quiche?
I love ricotta. I'm even a sucker for hot pasta tossed in a heaping spoonful of ricotta and maybe some parm, maybe some peas thrown in. Yum!
But, yes, it is useful for other things. If you want to do a quiche, throw a few dollops of ricotta on before baking. They'll be little treasures in the quiche once it is cooked. This is also fun on pizza.
But to be really different, and very easy, just stir some ricotta together with honey and vanilla extract, to taste. Depending on how much you make, crack in an egg or two and stir until complete incorporated. Fill little ramekins with the mixture and bake until set. Flip them out of the ramekins and top with a fruit sauce or chocolate sauce. It's a lovely little dessert that is so easy and much lighter and fresher than a cheesecake.
Last, as something I haven't tried but looks lovely, Giada has a recipe (probably on the Food Network website) for a chocolate ricotta pie.
My dad and I used to make a somewhat similar dish. One box of rotini (or other pasta with very deep grooves), one 16 oz. tub of ricotta, 4 or 6 links of hot italian sausage and enough of your favorite tomato sauce to cover the sausage in a sauce pan. Brown the sausages, add the tomato sauce and simmer until cooked through. Cook the pasta, drain and then return to the pasta pot and toss with the ricotta immediately. Dish up the pasta, top with sausage and sauce, some Parmesan and you're good to go. Perfect fall/winter meal. Another nice feature. Once its all cooked, you can dish it into freezable/microwavable containers and it will do wonderfully.
Ricotta can definitely be frozen. Think of how much frozen lasagna you see in the market. I make a dish with ziti or penne, tomato sauce and stir in enough ricotta to make the sauce pink. Then I shave in a bit of pecorino romano and maybe melt some mozz on top. Ultimate comfort food.
I love this spagetti pie that I make using left over spagetti. Whip up 2 or 3 eggs and add a few big tblsp of ricotta cheese and parm cheese, then add your spagetti. At this point you can get creative and add garlic, basil, chicken, ground sausage, I've added salmon, etc. Put into pie plate and bake 20-30 min. 350 degrees. If you want red sauce, first add your fav. red sauce on top and grated jack cheese (or our favorite cheese). Sometimes I leave it white top, with only parm cheese on top. I've done it with scallops and shrimp too. My favorite was simple with salmon, garlic and dill.
Once done, cut into wedges.
Cassata cake a la Nana. :) Ricotta, vanilla, sugar, tiny semi sweet chocolate chips for a filling. Line a spring form pan with lady fingers, bottom and sides. Put half the filling into the pan, add another layer of lady fingers, put the rest of the filling on top, then add decorations of lady fingers and maraschino cherries (if you like). Refrigerate for at least two hours, eight is better. Then eat eat eat eat. :)
Eat it straight out of the container with a sprinkle of slat and fresh pepper.
Make a "White Pie" get some pizza dough, throw some ricoota, fress mozz, maybe some prosciutto, or sauted mushroms and bake until nice and bubbly.
Use it to stuff tomatoes. Take the ricotta and add some chopped spinach and some parmagiano. Cut the tops off some roma tomatoes and fill them with the mixture. Bake them in the oven at 400 for 10 or 15 minutes until hot and bubbly.
I make a pasta with cherry tomatos, garlic, basil and ricotta. Marinate the first 3 together for about 15 minutes, toss them in with the freshly drained pasta (I use congile - sp?) and then put in a cup or so of ricotta and stir. Incredibly simple and really delicious.
Traditional Italian ricotta pie bears some vague resemblance to cheesecake.
I like a blintz casserole made with ricotta + cream cheese.
I also like some in tomato sauce. Blobs of it, not mixed in.
Cook's Illustrated has a stovetop quicky lasagne that isn't too bad.
It will keep for a little while, if the container is not opened. Once opened, it turns that scary rotten pink color after not too long.
Similar to the dessert ideas... I like ricotta with a spooful or two of good honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some fresh berries.
There's also a Giada recipe (at least I think it was her; it was quite awhile back) that I improv on--while penne or fusili is boiling, mix some ricotta in your serving bowl with a little balsamic and good olive oil, salt/pepper, a little nutmeg, defrosted frozen spinach that's been wrung out, and chopped fresh basil, and a bit of grated parmasean. When the pasta's done, drain and put directly into the ricotta mixture, adding a little reserved pasta water if it's too thick. Depending on what I have on hand, I'll often add other veggies like peas or cut up asparagus. It's pretty good, and prepared in a flash.
Make gnocchi. Or if you want something simpler, cook orecchiette; sautée peas and onions until softened; toss cooked pasta with peas and ricotta and enough pasta water to make a smooth sauce.
I like to stir it in to soft herbed polenta - it turns it into a soufflé, almost. Great side dish or conduit for a dry-ish stew.
Or, if you want to abandon all pretense of health, make these fritters: http://orangette.blogspot.com/2005/09...
If you can get freshly made ricotta, it's great with some honey drizzled over it. There's also some recipes for ricotta gnocchi I saw in an old gourmet or was it bon appetit mag? I usually throw it in lasagna or a simple pasta bake.
Love it on pizza... Spread tomato sauce; dollop/spread w/ mozzarella blend, and bake, then dollop more ricotta on at the end after baking.
Fill blintzes yes!
Omelette filling with wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, and some parsley... Drizzle with walnut oil.
Mix w/ cinnamon and sugar... eat plain.
For an easier version of cannoli, I make a simple cannoli filling (ricotta, powdered sugar, and a little cream) and put it in a storebought pie crust. Sprinkling some graham cracker crums on top (or probably anything else) makes it look a little fancier.
Ditto on omlettes, also with tomato and herbs if you're want a lighter feel than mushrooms and onions.
Also great and simple are crepes with ricotta and jam.
Epicurious has a very good Spinach Ricotta Pie recipe...if you add some chopped roasted red pepper to the filling and toasted pine nuts to the top, it livens it up a bit. Excellent as a non-meat entree with either a salad or soup and nice glass of white wine.
The good stuff is best eaten slathered on artisan bread, with a drizzle of olive oil. Otherwise, make a soft gnocchi dough, put in ziplocks and freeze. Defrost when needed, snip off the tip of the ziplock and squeeze into salted boiling water to make little soup gnocchetti.
I seem to remember once making a ricotta and white chocolate semi freddo from a recipe online which was quite nice...
Grill some bread on a grill pan or in the oven. Top with ricotta cheese and orange marmalade. Yum.
I put ricotta into a sandwich with grated courgette and lemon zest - delicious and will keep til lunchtime without going soggy. I also like Bill Grangers idea of having it on fruit toast or brioche with fresh berries or stewed fruit - we have this occasionally at the weekend for breakfast