Ricotta and Friends
Ricotta leaves Italy for lunch
Sometimes I regret pitting Greek yogurt and mayo against each other in the "who's more useful at lunchtime" Deadliest Warrior-style competition. Especially when I realize I left out the third fighter. This has happened to me several times now. I'll be spreading a layer of fluffy ricotta on bread for a sandwich and suddenly have flashes of mayo or Greek yogurt. I'll be tossing together a crazy variation on chicken salad with Greek yogurt as the binding agent and suddenly wish I'd used ricotta. This leads to self-doubt regarding my prowess as a sandwich-crafter, and it really shakes me up.
Now I've been spreading mayo on bread for along time. When I started subbing in Greek yogurt, I thought I was pretty smart. But when I found myself spreading ricotta instead of mayo, yogurt or even (gulp) cream cheese (don't shoot!) it occured to me that this humble ingredient had so much more to bring to the table than just another stuffing. Ricotta and I really bonded when I started making it myself. And save your Aglio e Olio for the picky kids' table, tossing spaghetti with a little ricotta and freshly ground black pepper dominates the simple-yet-delicious department.
Ready for a little inspiration?
- Swap ricotta for mozzarella in your caprese salad or sandwich.
- Toss a few tablespoons of ricotta with leftover roast chicken, salt, pepper and chopped fresh herbs for an exceptionally satisfying chicken salad sandwich.
- Mix a tablespoon of freshly grated orange zest with a cup of ricotta, add dill, roasted red peppers and chopped kalamata olives and toss with obscure pasta shapes for a brand-new Mediterranean pasta salad.
- Get to know Pizza Rustica, hot, ricotta-spiked Italian love child of quiche and pizza.