WHAT IS RICOTTA?
The name ricotta is from the Latin recocta or “re-cooked”. Originally it was a short shelf life cheese consumed by shepherds in old Rome. Today, like American Velveeta, ricotta is a byproduct of cheese production. Whey that is drained from the pressed curds of cheese isn’t thrown away. This powdery white liquid is then heated again. As a result, the leftover casein proteins to fuse together and form a second round of curds. A fresh cheese, it takes the shape of the basket mold in which it is formed. This formaggio can be made from one or several different milks. Variations exist like Salata (salted and aged 3 months), di Pecora (sheep), di Bufala (buffalo), etc. The sheep’s milk one from Lazio, Ricotta Romana, is an actual Italian P.D.O. cheese.
Some think of Ricotta as a milder, sweeter, smoother version of cottage cheese. While others have described it as a solidified, non-acidic version of crème fraiche. The only way to really know what it is like is to buy it! Or even just make some! The website Cheese Sex Death explains how to make ricotta in a microwave in just five minutes.
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WHERE IS RICOTTA MADE?
Historically this formaggio is native to Italy. But today it is commonly found in Western countries with leftover whey from cheese production. Even in the far East, though, you can find traditional ricotta at Mr. Liu Yang’s Le Fromager de Pekin!
SCIENCE SHOWS THAT LOVERS OF RE-COOKED CHEESE ALSO LOVE THE “EROTIC ACCORDION”?
Monsieur Pierre Michonneau can predict your favorite sexual position. All he needs to know is which cheese you like to eat! I don’t know why lovers of a bland and industrial cheese would “like to dabble outside of the mainstream.” Or why this “position perfectly satisfies your desire to try something new.” But the next time that first date orders a dish with ricotta, heads up!
WHAT CAN I PAIR WITH RICOTTA?
This is in general a pretty neutral cheese. So it can be used in savory or sweet dishes. Being such a friendly formaggio, one expert recommended pairing Ricotta with a popular types of cannabis, “Durban Poison”. However if you’re not smoking something suspiciously similar to oregano, try a glass of wine instead! For sheep’s milk formaggios look to Riesling, Pinto Grigio, Sauvignon Blancs or even Champagne. If you have the blander, industrial one, just use it for cooking. For Italian cheese flights, try a nice 24 month Parmesan Reggiano and a goat’s milk Gorgonzola from up north. If you feel more international and want to compare sheep cheeses, try a French Basque Ossau Iraty and a Spanish 6 month Idiazabal.