A soft, fresh "cheese" made from the whey discarded during cheese production. Though ricotta is typically referred to as a cheese, "whey cheese" is the technical definition, as it is a byproduct of the cheese-making process. It can be made from cow, sheep or water buffalo milk, and is common as a filling for both sweet and savory dishes. Ricotta is often prepared and packaged in a variety of ways: ricotta salata (salted, baked and smoked), ricotta infornata (baked), ricotta affumicata (smoked), and ricotta scanta (soured).


Other names: Requeijao, Requeson
Translations: Ρικότα, الريكوتا, リコッタ, ריקוטה, Рицотта, Рікотта, 里科塔, Рикотта, Рикота

Physical Description

Ricotta (Italian pronunciation: [riˈkotːa]) is an Italian sheep milk or cow milk whey cheese. It is somewhat similar in texture to some cottage cheese variants, though considerably lighter. Like many fresh cheeses, it is highly perishable.

Colors: white

Tasting Notes

Food complements: Ricotta is also commonly used in savory dishes, Including pasta, Calzoni, Pizza, Manicotti, Lasagne, And ravioli.
Wine complements: Red wine
Substitutes: Khoa cheese, Mascarpone cheese, It also makes a suitable substitute for mayonnaise in traditional egg or tuna salad and as a sauce thickener.

Selecting and Buying

Procuring: Ricotta is produced from whey, the liquid separated out from the curds when cheese is made. 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 causes additional protein to precipitate out, forming a fine curd. Once cooled, the curd is separated by passing though a fine cloth.


The Greek antiquarian who wrote volumes on food, Athenaeus (c. A.D. 170-230), talks about "tender cheese" at a banquet. We don't know if this is ricotta, but he also mentions a cheese from Sicily that was well known. Ricotta cheese, which is generally recognized as having been invented in Sicily, is known in the language of the island by another name: zammatàru, a word in Sicilian meaning "dairy farmer." This word is derived from the Arabic za'ama, meaning "cow," leading to the supposition that ricotta might have its origins in the Arab-Sicilian era

History: Two of the earliest mentions or depictions of ricotta are related to Sicily. Professor Santi Correnti, chairman of the history department of the University of Catania and a preeminent historian of Sicily, writes that during the reign of the Sicilian king Frederick II, in the early thirteenth century, the king and his hunting party came across the hut of a dairy farmer making ricotta and, being ravenous, asked for some. Frederick pulled out his bread loaf, poured the hot ricotta and whey on top and advised his retinue that cu' non mancia ccu' so' cucchiaru lassa tutto 'o zammataru (Those who don't eat with a spoon will leave all their ricotta behind).



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