Whether it’s fresh from the deli, in a container from the supermarket, or even if you’ve made your own – ricotta is a versatile cheese that adds creaminess to any recipe.
High in Vitamin A and calcium, ricotta is a creamy white cheese with a mild flavour. It is Italian in origin and is traditionally made from cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk.
Depending on the brand, 100g of regular ricotta comes in between 150-180 calories; and the extra light versions have around 50 calories.
How Do I Use It?
- Add to pasta sauces to enrich the flavour and add creaminess (without adding too many calories)
- Pop some in your eggs: omelettes, scrambled eggs and frittatas can all benefit of a few spoonfuls of ricotta for a bit of richness
- Try it in your low fat lasagne instead of béchamel sauce.
- Spread it on toast instead of butter
- Slice a zucchini or red capsicum in half and scoop out some of the flesh. Smear in some ricotta and lemon zest, season, and bake for 15-20 minutes.
- For a delicious canapé, serve ricotta on large croutons with pesto and roasted red capsicums; or try a ricotta stuffed zucchini flower.
- You can also make individual spinach and ricotta pies.
- Add it to your mashed potato with some fresh Parmesan.
- On top of your favourite pizza with some fresh basil pesto
- Mix ricotta with some spinach and use it to make a stuffed chicken breast.
- As a dessert, try ricotta with a handful of raspberries, and a squeeze of honey and fresh lemon juice. Or use it to make a lighter version of cheesecake.
Make Your Own 5 Minute Ricotta
Did you know it takes just 3 ingredients to make your own ricotta? I found this out today and have to say it is a very satisfying way to spend five minutes in the kitchen.
- 2 cups of full cream milk
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Place the 3 ingredients in a glass jar and mix gently.
- Place in the microwave on high for 3-4 minutes (depending how strong your microwave is).
- Take it out and stir very gently for 5 seconds. You will see the milk separate into solid white curds. If not, pop it back in the microwave for a further 30 seconds and stir again.
- Take some cheesecloth and fold it to make 4 layers and place it over a bowl (or you can do what I did and use a (new!) blue dishcloth, but just one layer is needed).
- Pour the milk mixture on top and allow it to drip through. Resist the urge to squeeze it or help it along in any way.
- After a minute or so have a look to see if the liquid has all gone, and then you can place the cheese onto a plate for immediate use.
It doesn’t make a huge amount (half a teacup in my case) but it is plenty for making a pasta dish, smearing on toast, or some of the other ideas above.
I made some this afternoon and used it tonight to stuff some mushrooms (with ricotta, parsley, olive oil, and garlic) and then popped them under the grill for ten minutes.
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