There is a significant difference between these food products, both in the preparation technology and in the initial raw materials. Ready-made ricotta is used to make desserts, lasagna, cakes, salty cakes, used for baking Easter bread. Added to different dishes, a uniform, curd mass with an unleavened taste, gives the dishes a national flavor of hospitable Italy.
What is ricotta
The traditional product of sunny Italy, ricotta, is made from whey, which remains after cooking mozzarella, young cheese, and other gastronomic pride of the Italians. This cheese is made from whole milk, not from whey, so ricotta cannot be called cheese. At the same time, ricotta and non-cottage cheese, as the process of preparation of this dairy product is very different in technology. Cottage cheese is obtained by heating the milk and adding rennet to it. In this case, the milk protein coagulates, and casein falls into a gentle sediment, which is called cottage cheese.
Ricotta is cooked a little differently: the precipitate is heated again, that is, a process called ri-cotta in Italy, that is, “digested”, takes place. Only then is the mass mixed with the ferment enzyme, the top layer is called fresh ricotta. In appearance, ricotta is very similar to soft curd cheese, while it is smoother and less sour than curd. Ricotta is prepared from dairy or cream whey of various degrees of fat, so this product can be either 8% fat – from cow’s milk, or 24-25% – from sheep’s milk.
Ricotta is used as a separate dish, instead of cottage cheese or cheese. Added to different foods, it gives a national Italian flavor, it becomes a real decoration of the dish. As a dressing, ricotta goes well with boiled potatoes and pasta, fruit and vegetable salads. Gourmets around the world are preparing ricotta pies and cakes, pies and pancakes. The famous Sicilian cannoli, which are crispy waffle rolls filled with ricotta, are served in Italy and on weekdays, as well as on Christmas and New Year holidays.
The amazing Neapolitan dessert “Pastiera napoletana” is nothing but a sweet cake with ricotta and oranges. This delicate dairy product is also used for baking Pastier Easter bread. Some types of lasagna and salty cakes are prepared using ricotta and aromatic herbs and spices. A dessert product is also used to make pancakes, bruschetta, pikoni-fritelle, ravioli, puddings, flans and cheesecakes. Soups, casseroles, salads, second courses of meat and poultry, fish and mushrooms with the addition of fresh cheese product get the taste of tenderness and harmony, rich aroma of sunny Italy.
It is interesting
This fresh ricotta is quite difficult to find in any other countries, except Italy. Either the cost of such a product is several times higher than the price for similar locally produced dairy products. For cooking ricotta dishes, it can be replaced with a cheaper equivalent – soft cottage cheese or curd cheese, such as Almette.
Ricotta is a national product of many northern and southern provinces of Italy: Sicily, Campania, Calabria, Lambardia, Piedmont. By tradition, the folded flakes of whey in the preparation of the national product are put in special baskets of willow twigs, which affects the shape of ricotta. In modern industrial conditions it is packaged in small plastic baskets.
In addition to Italy, ricotta is boiled in Greece, calling it in its own way “mysifera”, in France this product bears the name “serac”, in Germany – “Sieger”. There are a lot of species of ricotta around the world: fresh ricotta; smoked seasoned, hard as cheese; mature, which is used instead of parmesan; cooked in the oven, chocolate, lemon and the like.
The benefit of ricotta is explained by the content of vitamins, microelements and active substances in it, which are present both in milk, whey and in leaven. Ricotta is a healthy and tasty product, a business card of sunny Italy.