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Preparation, uses, and tips

Ricotta is used in pasta dishes with fettuccine or tortellini, in dumplings, and as stuffing for ravioli or eggplant. As a dessert cheese, it can be baked in pastry, used to create molded cream desserts, or served lightly sweetened with fruit.

Buying and storing tips

Ricotta is perishable and can be kept, refrigerated, for about a week. When purchasing an Italian ricotta, avoid any product that tastes sharp and fruity, as that indicates that the cheese is no longer fresh. Ricotta should be sweet and mild, ready to eat as it comes out of the package, with pasta, fruit, or vegetables.


Ricotta, like other cheeses, varies according to the type of milk from which it is made, by the region or country in which it is produced, and by the process used in its production. Cheese gourmets highly recommend the Italian varieties.

In Italy, ricotta salta, which resembles feta, is made by salting and drying the curd. Ricotta infornata is a Sicilian variety that is baked. In northern Italy, ricotta is processed by smoking it. Other Italian varieties include sheep’s milk ricotta, called ricotta di pecora, a cows’ milk variety molded in little baskets called ricotta di vacca, and others. Goat’s milk ricotta made in Switzerland is called zieger, and in Greece manouri. Very firm ricotta secca can be used as a grating cheese. Other types of Ricotta are made in France, Spain, and Portugal.

Nutrition Highlights

Ricotta, 1/2 cup (124g) (part skim milk)
Calories: 171
Protein: 14g
Carbohydrate: 6.4g
Total Fat: 10g
Fiber: 0.0g
*Excellent source of: Calcium (337mg), Magnesium (183mg), and Selenium (21mcg)
*Good source of: Vitamin A (536 IU)

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.

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