Ricotta regret

I tried two ricotta related recipes last week: Martha Stewart's rigatoni with swiss chard and my own spin on a ricotta and quinoa stuffed zucchini recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini.

After considering the possibility of replacing the ricotta with cottage cheese, I decided I'd stick to the recipe's original intent and try the ricotta. I picked up a big tub of Sorrento ricotta and got to work. I had only cooked with ricotta once before, when I made lasagna at my parent's house. Though that didn't turn out too well -- my lasagna was bland at best -- I still tired to be hopeful.

While the flavor combinations in both taught me new ways to use all the vegetables available in the summer season (quinoa and zucchini! white wine, red pepper flakes and rainbow chard!), the ricotta nearly ruined both dishes.

I thought ricotta would be a new way to support tender early summer vegetables from the farmer's market. I expected it to be creamy, but it was gritty. I thought it would have a mild dairy taste, but the flavor was more like old water.

I wonder if there's a fancier, better, fattier version of ricotta I should have been using? I'm hoping the ricotta Clotilde cooks with in Paris is better that what I picked up at the supermarket. Anyone have some ricotta revelations?

When I get home, I'll look at the fat content of the ricotta and check the expiration date. Too bad I only thought of this now.

KQED food blog: "I for one will probably never (well, maybe in a pinch) purchase a tub of store-bought ricotta again."


Anonymous ann said...

i'd hop over to any good italian deli (maybe russo's on 7th ave in park slope) and get some fresh ricotta
it really is delicious!

11:55 AM  
Blogger Haalo said...

Hi Chris
Like Ann said, go to an italian deli and get a slice of the basket pressed real ricotta. The supermarket types are just too mushy, for want of a better word and just won't work.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

The horror! Both recipes sounded so good - it's a crime to hear they didn't turn out. Let us know if "real ricotta" helps things out any.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Mr S. said...

could mascarpone be a good, smoother subsititute for ricotta? the flavor is similar, if i remember right...

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey chris, try draining your ricotta next time. put a coffee filter (or cheesecloth) in a mesh strainer and let the cheese drain for an hour or two. or do it before you go to work in the morning. (put it in the fridge over a bowl, of course)

it's like draining yogurt--it's much thicker and richer. not much you can do about the grit, but it never bothered me.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Thanks for your ricotta suggestions. Do you find that you cook with it often? What kind of recipes do you like it in best?

Ann, your suggestion of the Park Slope deli makes me wonder if my pork store/butcher on 5th Avenue in Park Slope has ricotta. I know they make their own mozzerlla.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think to get over the grit, which i assume you mean the curd, you can try pulsing it in a food processor or blender to get in to a creamy consistency.

7:02 PM  

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