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Fresh ricotta ideas (no sweets, please)

Glencora Mar 8, 2010 06:57 AM

I have most of a container of fresh ricotta left after making a so-so "pesto" with basil and almonds. I'd like to do something else with it for dinner tonight. Most of the recipes I've seen are for sweets or baked pasta. I was thinking of a fairly light pasta sauce. I also have asparagus, so I'd love ideas for using that, too. I have very little experience with fresh ricotta and I have to admit I find it rather bland. I could use some inspiration.

  1. l
    liannenc Mar 13, 2010 07:37 AM

    My mom used to make something she called Bigliotto, and she and my dad claimed they got the idea for it from a meal they read about in a Rex Stout novel. Dice bacon and cook it until almost crisp. Drain off most of the fat, then saute several cloves of minced or pressed garlic a few minutes-- not until brown, but just to take the sharp edge off. Dump in a large container of ricotta (32 ounces, I think?) and stir it around to make sure it melts.... splash in a little milk or pasta water if it needs to be loosened up. Add some salt, pepper and maybe a teaspoon of dry oregano or Italian seasoning. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, then stir in the bacon and serve over pasta of your choice. You can add grated parm and or romano if you like, but it's not necessary. This has always been one of my favorite "comfort food" meals and it's very forgiving-- you can tweak it with whatever you like to suit your taste. The only caveat is that leftovers "solidify" and I usually have to add some more milk when I reheat it. Now I want some-- need to go to the store to get some ricotta!

    1. m
      mdzehnder Mar 12, 2010 02:38 PM

      Here's some ideas for ricotta with asparagus--haven't made them but they sound delicious.


      1. Allstonian Mar 12, 2010 11:42 AM

        The Zuni Cafe recipe for spaghetti carbonara uses half a cup of ricotta mixed with the raw eggs - it is unorthodox but absolutely my favorite recipe for carbonara.

        1. playfulotter Mar 12, 2010 08:17 AM

          Here is a favorite recipe using ricotta cheese I saw on the food network..I have made it over and over again. I usually use Linguine instead of tagliatelle though...Yummy!


          1. h
            harryharry Mar 11, 2010 05:35 PM

            This an hors d'oeuvres that I make - season the ricotta w/ lemon zest, fresh oregano (or any herb that you like) salt & pepper - maybe add some parmesan too.
            thinly slice zucchini on a mandoline or w/ a peeler (do this the long way) - spoon a little ricotta filling on each slice and roll up - sprinkle w/ a little salt and drizzle w/ good olive oil -
            they are best served immediately so the zuke stays a little crunchy - but sill taste great once it's gone soft.

            The combination is really good - much more interesting than it might sound!

            2 Replies
            1. re: harryharry
              Emme Mar 11, 2010 06:56 PM

              see, now i do something similar, except i bake the roll-ups, so the cheese gets gooey. i'll play with the stuffing tho - sometimes oregano, basil and parsley along with some julienned sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms (my guy likes chopped olives as well)-- serve drizzled with white balsamic vinegarette...

              1. re: Emme
                cheesecake17 Mar 12, 2010 05:58 AM

                This works very well with goat cheese too.

            2. e
              eclectick6n2 Mar 11, 2010 03:33 PM

              I am a member of Weight Watchers and once used a recipe within which some of the potato in the gnocchi dough was replaced with part skim ricotta. The little dumplings were so good and so light. I'm sure Mr. Google could supply the exact proportions. It was very tasty, I know that for sure.

              1 Reply
              1. re: eclectick6n2
                mdzehnder Mar 12, 2010 02:30 PM

                If you search Chow you'll find several threads discussing potato vs. ricotta gnocchi. Certain parts of Italy evidently "gnocchi" means ricotta and they'll find you rather unusual if you suggest anything else.

              2. r
                relizabeth Mar 11, 2010 02:40 PM

                When I first started dating the man who would become my husband, one of his flatmates had a Donna Hay cookbook. Most of it was pretty obvious if you've ever even flipped through the joy of cooking, but there was a phenomenal ricotta technique. This is a paraphrasing of my memories of it. We've made countless variations through the years; all are v. delicious.... Preheat oven to 400 (or so), olive oil an oven proof baking dish, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and pinch of saffron. Spread or drop ricotta onto saffron and bake until nice and golden (15-30 min). While baking, slice some combination of fennel, blood oranges or grapefruit, avocado, nice lettuce, bread. When cheese is done apply cheese to sliced food and drizzle with olive oil, and salt and pepper.

                1. jen kalb Mar 10, 2010 02:28 PM

                  there is a very simple hazan recipe with ricotta, tiny baby peas and bacon which my family has enjoyed for years. You sautee the chopped bacon (we have used guanciale or pancetta at times - the smoked bacon adds more oomph) then add the peas until cooked. the pasta is mixed with the fried stuff and then with the ricotta , heavily peppered and with some grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.

                  Cant be easier, and usually we will have the components around, other than the ricotta.

                  1. m
                    montrealwaitress Mar 10, 2010 02:15 PM

                    I don't remember where I found this recipe but it's great.

                    Reduce some balsamic vinegar into a thick sauce.
                    Take some slices of baguette and lay slices of either fig (I've used fresh and dried) or apple on top. Dollop ricotta and bake until hot (about ten minutes, maybe less). Drizzle with the reduced balsamic.

                    Perfect appetizer.

                    1. Glencora Mar 9, 2010 06:03 AM

                      Lots of good ideas -- some a bit too ambitious for a Monday night (for me). The pasta turned out pretty well, and I'm going to try the pizza with arugula soon, too. That sounds great.

                      1. gansu girl Mar 9, 2010 05:19 AM

                        Spread it on good toasted bread, drizzle w/a little good olive oil, sprinkle w/S&P. Or what about a frittata? This one I made recently turned out well: http://www.semisweetonline.com/page/2/?s=frittata. I make "inside out" lasagna for my daughter - dollops of ricotta on pasta w/sauce . . . you could definitely go crazy w/ingredients on that one.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: gansu girl
                          Marge Mar 10, 2010 02:32 PM

                          Spread on good toasted bread, drizzle w/ a little good olive oil AND a little good honey, sprinkle with fresh thyme.

                          1. re: gansu girl
                            twilight goddess Mar 12, 2010 11:28 AM

                            I am also a fan of fresh ricotta on toast -- with olive oil, S, P, and a juicy slice or two of *tomato*

                          2. c
                            cinnamon girl Mar 8, 2010 08:53 PM

                            Savoury blintzes.

                            Grilled (or cooked in waffle iron) slices of eggplant rolled around a ricotta filling, baked with a little tomato sauce and sprinkled with grated tallegio - or cheese of your choice. Parmesan and whatever herbs you have are nice mixed into the ricotta. Sort of an involtini dish.

                            1. b
                              burlgurl Mar 8, 2010 07:17 PM

                              I was going to suggest pizza...get some pizza dough and fresh basil and make your own pizza (flat crust would be best)..

                              1. g
                                gwendolynmarie Mar 8, 2010 07:14 PM

                                Tarts, savory tarts/galettes/pies/strudels. Zucchini, leek, aspargus, dill, egg, ricotta and feta in phyllo. Asparagus, pecorino romano, ricotta, nutmeg, lemon zest, spinach in puff pastry. Artichoke hearts, roasted bell pepper, sundried tomato, garlic, onion...add at will.

                                1. mcf Mar 8, 2010 04:55 PM

                                  My daughter's favorite sauce: a small container of ricotta, a drained small jar of roasted peppers, a couple or few cloves of raw garlic, a glug of olive oil, some s and p. Puree it and mix with hot pasta. Top with grated parmesan, and garnish with chopped, fresh parsely.

                                  1. kleine mocha Mar 8, 2010 01:08 PM

                                    Not for pasta, but if you look up any one of the recipes out there for Liptauer cheese--it's made in Austria with what we call Topfen and the Germans call Quark, but you can use ricotta for it--it's delicious spread on rye crisps.

                                    1. Green Omnivore Mar 8, 2010 11:23 AM

                                      i like to make pizza bianca with ricotta. Instead of using a red sauce, spread ricotta/parmesan/mozzarella mix onto the pizza crust and bake. Once out of the oven, top with arugula that is drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and sprinkled with salt and pepper. MMmmm!

                                      1. emily Mar 8, 2010 08:07 AM

                                        There is an excellent recipe for spinach gnudi on Martha Stewart's site -- dough is mostly ricotta and topped with brown butter and sage. Here's a ricotta and braised kale pasta recipe:

                                        1. k
                                          kazhound Mar 8, 2010 07:41 AM

                                          not exactly what you're looking for perhaps, but we *love* this ricotta bread recipe:


                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: kazhound
                                            chowser Mar 9, 2010 03:52 AM

                                            This sounds good--I might give it a try and add marsala soaked raisins to it. Thanks for posting it.

                                          2. c
                                            cheesecake17 Mar 8, 2010 07:26 AM

                                            I toss pasta (usually penne) with ricotta, steamed/roasted broccoli, lemon zest, chopped kalamata olives, salt, and pepper. Add a little bit of pasta water to loosen up the 'sauce.' My husband tops this with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: cheesecake17
                                              Glencora Mar 8, 2010 08:01 AM

                                              That's the kind of thing I'm looking for, thanks. I do have kalamata olives. Lemon zest is a good idea, too.

                                              1. re: Glencora
                                                cheesecake17 Mar 8, 2010 10:03 AM

                                                Just saw that you have asparagus- you can prob use that instead of broccoli

                                            2. maplesugar Mar 8, 2010 07:21 AM

                                              Do pancakes count as sweets? There's a recipe for lemon ricotta pancakes floating around online that I've had my eye on.. struck me as very springy. Oh, and this savory tart from David Lebovitz: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: maplesugar
                                                mdzehnder Mar 12, 2010 02:32 PM

                                                Lemon ricotta pancakes are absolutely fabulous--I have made them regularly since first encountering the recipe about 2 yrs ago. Served with a quick homemade blueberry syrup they are heavenly.

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