Ricotta

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 27. Oct. 2020

Ricotta is a delicious Italian cream cheese which is surprisingly healthful. Read up on all you need to know about ricotta here.

share Share
print
bookmark_border Copy URL

Ricotta...

  • ...is heart-healthy.
    Three properties make ricotta the perfect cheese for a healthy heart: it’s low-fat, contains little cholesterol, and provides a relatively high magnesium content of 14 milligrams.
  • ...strengthens vision.
    100 grams of ricotta contains 320 micrograms of vitamin A, which helps support healthy vision, especially in the dark.
  • ...is packed with protein.
    100 grams of ricotta can contain up to a whopping 11 grams of protein, many times more than your average daily requirement.
  • ...might help you lose weight.
    Ricotta is produced from whey, making it relatively low in fat and calories compared to other cheeses.
  • ...is easy on the stomach.
    Whether from cow's, buffalo or sheep's milk - ricotta is always made from whey, making it easier to digest and more tolerable for those with sensitive stomachs.
  • ...helps protect the body's cells.
    100 g of ricotta contains almost a full day’s requirement of vitamin E, which helps protect the body’s cells against free radical damage, which can result in everything from skin aging to cancer.
  • ...strengthens the bones.
    Ricotta contains almost two times as much calcium as milk does, and is also a rich source of phosphorus. Both of these minerals are integral in keeping the bones and teeth strong and healthy.
  • ...contains lactose.
    Depending on the variety, ricotta can contain between 1-5 grams of lactose. Therefore if you suffer from a lactose intolerance, it’s best to eat ricotta sparingly, if at all.

What You Should Know About Ricotta

Ricotta is similar to cream cheese in many respects, however one thing seperates this delicious Italian ingredient from othr types of cream cheese: Nevertheless, it is not made from milk, but from whey, the watery part that remains after milk has been curdled and strained. This gives ricotta its typical, somewhat crumbly consistency. Another difference between ricotta and cream cheese is how much salt is added during its production and the strength with which its strained. This production process yields the cylindrical shape typical of ricotta, and a shelf life that is often longer than other cream cheesees.  

Origins

Ricotta comes from Italy, andi s named after the special process by which it's made, which comprises being cooked two times (ricottare in Italian). First the whey is heated at 160-180 degrees Celsius until the milk protein coagulates. Then the whole mixture is heated again so that the cheese mass separates from the liquid and rises to the top. The finished "recooked", or ricotta, is then  skimmed off and placed in baskets to drain and cool.

Season

Ricotta is available all year round.

Taste

Ricotta can vary in flavor. Depending on whether it is made from cow, buffalo cow or sheep whey, it can taste mild to slightly pungent.

Find all our recipes with ricotta here.

How Healthy is Ricotta?

Anyone who likes ricotta can breathe a sigh of relief: this cream cheese made from lean whey is one of the more low-fat, low-calorie types of cheese around, making it a good option for those on a diet or who are watching their cholesterol levels. However remember that fat and calorie amounts can vary between varieties, so always make sure to read the label before purchasing your ricotta if this is something you're paying attention to. 

Since ricotta is made from whey, people with sensitive stomachs and usually tolerate it better than other cream cheese. However it does contain a considerable amount of lactose, so if you're lactose intolerant, it's best not to eat ricotta.

ricotta NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 122
Protein 11 g
Fat 8 g
Carbohydrates 0 g
Fiber 0 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

In the supermarket you will find packed ricotta in the refrigerated section with dairy products. If you have an Italian delicatessen shop nearby or a particularly well-stocked weekly market around the corner, you may be particularly lucky: here you can sometimes even buy homemade and accordingly super fresh ricotta, which will have a stronger taste and creamier consistency.

Storage

As a typical cream cheese without preservatives, ricotta does not last very long after opening the package. Store it in the coldest part of your refrigerator and consume it as soon as possible.

What to Make With Ricotta

Ricotta's airy texture and tart yet rich flavor adds a crave-worthy sharpness and consistency to both sweet and savory dishes.  Finely crushed, seasoned and mixed with chopped spinach, ricotta is an absolute classic filling in raviolis, as well as other classic Italian pasta dishes, such as lasagna.

Ricotta is also delicious in desserts and baked goods, such as lemon ricotta pancakes, or even a more healthy dessert, simply paired with some honey and fruit. It also makes a delicious spread on toast or crackers.

Add comment