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home > food & wine dictionary > ricotta cheese

Food and Wine Dictionary


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 ricotta cheese    [rih-KAHT-tuh]

This rich fresh cheese is slightly grainy but smoother than cottage cheese. It's white, moist and has a slightly sweet flavor. Most Italian ricottas are made from the WHEY drained off while making cheeses such as MOZZARELLA and PROVOLONE. Technically, this type of ricotta is not really cheese because it's made from a cheese by-product. In the United States, ricottas are usually made with a combination of whey and whole or skim milk. The word ricotta  means "recooked," and is derived from the fact that the cheese is made by heating the whey from another cooked cheese. Ricotta is a popular ingredient in many Italian savory preparations like LASAGNA and MANICOTTI, as well as desserts like CASSATA and CHEESECAKE. See also  CHEESE.

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Material adapted from the The New Food Lover's Companion

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on
THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.


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