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Ricotta Salata (what to do with...)

I bought some ricotta salata (the relatively dry, slice-able ricotta, not the stuff used in lasagna) for a pizza idea I tried tonight - pizza spread with pesto and topped with cubes of butternut squash and thickly grated ricotta salata. It turned out just ok, the ricotta dried out too much in the oven and mostly added a salty crunch. If i did it again, I would grate the ricotta on after the pizza cooks, but that is another story.

For now, I've got a good chunk of the ricotta salata left over, any good ideas what to do with it?

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  1. It's a fantastic salad cheese. I like a winter greens salad with walnuts or pecans, some sort of sweet-ish vinaigrette (think citrus and honey), and some roasted beets... shave the ricotta salata over the top and toss. also a great finisher for pasta, although as you discovered, not really a melting cheese, more of a final touch as it goes to the table. i like to use it in place of parm/pecorino when i'm not worried about melting, or if i want a touch more texture to whatever dish i'm finishing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tacostacoseverywhere

      I agree - I also like to grate it on salads.

    2. Grated ricotta salata, chopped parsley, diced roasted red peppers, chopped walnuts, and chopped olives mixed with pasta!

      1. I've never seen ricotta salata that you can grate. It's usually fresh, and you use it as you would a feta cheese. It slices very neatly for salad or eating with melon and prosciutto.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Felixnot

          When it is grated it is usually done on a box grater, large holes. Lately I've seen (and had) it done this way in restaurants, usually on pasta. Personally I prefer it by itself, or as you have suggested as part of an antipasti platter, sliced or broken up. Like LulusMom said below, it is so mild that it can get lost in a more flavorful dish.

          1. re: Felixnot

            I grew up on ricotta salata grated in a mouli grater. on pasta couldn't get enough. it was a special treat when we visited my grandparents in new york. no ricotta salad in cleveland in 80's early 90's.... at least not readily available.

          2. I made a potato stew from epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... in which I used ricotta salata. To be honest, I loved the stew but found the cheese a little superflous, but if you're looking for a way to get rid of it, this might be a nice, wintery way to go.

            1. Another salady thought: Use it like you would fresh mozz in a caprese- slices of tomato, slices of ricotta salata, drizzled with balsamic vinagrette, sprinkled with fresh basil.

              1. One of my faves (pre-lowcarb): Cook some orichiette pasta. Splash a good amount of olive oil in the bottom of your pasta bowl. Press some fresh garlic into it. Set aside a little pasta cooking water before you drain the cooked pasta. Add cooked pasta to the oil, grate a whole bunch of ricotta salata over, season to taste w/ salt & pepper. Add a little pasta water if it needs it. Top w/ chopped flat leaf parsley and toss.

                I use a fine hole (1/8 inch?) hand held grater (I've had it since before microplanes came out) and it grates up the ricotta salata just fine.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mimilulu

                  On a similar note, saute the garlic and sausage removed from the casings in olive oil. Steam rapini or broccoli, add the sausage mixture and rapini to the pasta (you will probably need more oil as well as the pasta water), then toss with ricotta salata.

                2. Hi... best salad and so healthy (doesn't sound that great but trust me, try it and you'll like it - I'm not a spinach/kale/chard fan but I this is one of my favorite "salads" now).

                  Lacinato Kale and Ricotta Salata Salad

                  1. The most famous dish I can think of that includes ricotta salata is the Sicilian Pasta alla Norma, named after the native composer, Puccini's, opera. Rigatoni or other medium-sized pasta (maltagliati, if you like fresh) with a tomato-eggplant sauce. Sautee either thin slices or bite-size cubes of eggplant (depending on the size/type of eggplant) in olive oil until just slightly browned and add them to a simple homemade tomato sauce made with olive oil, fresh garlic and basil. Combine the sauce with the pasta and grate the cheese over it. It's one of my favorites.

                    1. thaqnks guys!

                      so, salads and pastas, huh? so far i used some with a salad or arugula and baked beets, and will probably try that lacinato kale thing next. thanks for the ideas, keep them coming if you have more.

                        1. re: Produce Addict

                          My family uses it in a pasta dish which includes: squash (preferably the long Sicilian summer squash ), ground beef, onion, tomato and basil. Combine all the ingredient add salt and pepper. Server hot with lots of grated ricotta salata on top.

                          1. re: Mel.D

                            That sounds terrific, Mel B., and I'll be keeping that recipe in mind... :)

                        2. A very simple recipe I was given for ricotta salata was a simple tortellini (meat or cheese) with edamame beans tossed in a simple sauce of melted butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and black pepper with grated ricotta salata on top. Since the cheese is pretty salty, just a little salt in the pasta water was all it needed. Boil the edamame beans in the pasta water. Very simple and pretty tasty.

                          1. I've cut it into cubes and skewered it, along with a watermelon cube and mint leaf. It's a cute little appetiser.

                            1. Where did you find it? I've been up to my eyes in course prep but I'm watching Lidia's Italy (the episode on Friuli) and I'd like to make the long gnocchi soon.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: DaveinNorthridge

                                You might want to post on your regional board. In NYC, it's available at most cheese stores and Italian markets.

                              2. Now that we are at the height of tomato season I use it instead of mozzarella in tomato salads.

                                1. Babbo serves a roasted beet "tartare" with ricotta salata that I have recreated many times.

                                  1. I can't believe no one said fruit, my Grandmother and I use to sit with a plate of ricotta salata and some grapes & red delicious apples slices with some crusty French or Italian bread the way the sweet fruit plays with the salty cheese it's Heaven.

                                    1. The one recipe told to me that specifically called for ricotta salada as an ingredient was stuffed artichokes. Bread crumbs, egg, the other usual stuff and the secret ingredient...ricotta salada.

                                      1. I use the chunk of ricotta salata, how do I wrap the portion I have left? if I put it aa zip lock bag it gets moldy. I do scrape it off, but is there a way to keep it from getting mouldy?