“Wonderful Cookbook!!! I have three wonder words: Baked Ricotta Cheese. Just amazing. The recipes are simple to understand and the instructions are easy for me a home cook. She takes a hand full of ingredients and turns them into a feast. This cookbook is just as good as the first” ~ says the review from one of my reader Shannon L. Sigman of San Jose, CA – on my book Sins Of A Queen.
This is a book on Italian Appetizers and Desserts, but everything in there can also be made into easy meals. Baked Ricotta Cheese on page 51 is such an easy recipe that it’s almost a non-recipe. The only ingredients needed are fresh ricotta any olives, Italian prosciutto, or any ham, olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper. Drain the water from the ricotta. Beat it to break the molecules, mix in all the ingredients. Butter a baking dish, lay the mixture in the pan and bake at 400˚ F for about 40-45 minutes. Serve it with a tomato salad, or mixed green salad. Don’t forget a piece of Italian bread and a glass of wine. Dinner cannot be any simpler than this. I kept my promises when I said I was going to write the simplest Italian recipes ever, especially thought for people living a busy life. That was my aim.
There are a few differences in the ricotta products you might want to know. Don’t get confused with Ricotta Salata, a salty ricotta aged for a few months and covered with a natural hard skin formed during the aging process. Ricotta Salata comes in a wheel and cuts in slices like any hard cheese. It goes well with salami, Italian cured prosciutto and grilled sausages, accompanied by a rustic salad. It’s a good rustic item to have among other appetizers.
The ricotta to use in my recipe must be the fresh type found in plastic tubs and sold in specialized cheese shops, where sometimes I am lucky enough to find it in straw baskets as it sells in Italy. The region of Puglia, in Italy produces the best fresh ricotta and related products. http://www.abbasciano.it/en. Fresh ricotta is a spoon type cheese, creamy and spreadable and contains a bit of water, thus is lighter. It is very good to eat when following low calories diet.
The difference in taste from the ricotta sold in supermarkets and the type sold in specialty cheese shops is like night and day. Fresh ricotta is made from cow’s milk or sheep’s milk, the latter is a bit more fattening, but it has more body and a slightly salty taste. Both are good to use for savory cooking as lasagna, stuffed pasta with spinach and mushrooms, tarts, savarins, canapés and so much more. For sweets and cakes fresh ricotta is the best.
The day I plan to make fresh bread, I make also a trip to the cheese shop to get the fresh ricotta ready to go on that crunchy and hot bread from the oven.
It looks and feels like a hot volcano with a mount of fluffy snow on top and that’s the best way I can describe it in words.
Being very conscious of what I eat, cow’s milk ricotta is lighter and fluffy, it suits better my need and my taste. Yes, it is true, Italian people in Puglia eat as simple as this. Ciao,
Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She operates in the USA and Europe.
She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms.
She is the author of two published books on regional Italian cuisine, available on this site on the Books sections and on Amazon: http://tiny.cc/pkoo0
Her book on colors RED-A Voyage Into Colors is in the printing at this time and will be available soon.