Fresh cheese made from the whey of cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk, or a mixture, with a delicate flavour.
Ricotta (literally meaning “recooked”) uses whey, the liquid that remains after straining curds when making cheese. Most of the milk protein (especially casein) is removed when cheese is made, but some protein remains in the whey, mostly albumin. This remaining protein can be harvested if the whey is first allowed to become more acidic by additional fermentation (by letting it sit for 12–24 hours at room temperature). Then the acidified whey is heated to near boiling. The combination of low pH and high temperature denatures the protein and causes it to precipitate out, forming a fine curd. Once cooled, the curd is separated by passing through a fine cloth.
Ricotta curds are creamy white in appearance, slightly sweet in taste, and contain around 13% fat. In this form, it is somewhat similar in texture to some cottage cheese variants, though considerably lighter. It is highly perishable. However, ricotta also comes in aged varieties which are preservable for much longer.
Ricotta Forte is a soft, creamy and spreadable version with a spicy flavour.
Ricotta Marzotica is a matured sheep’s ricotta for grating. It is excellent when grated over pasta.