Ricotta gives your pizza a new texture and charm
Ricotta is a versatile ingredient that every pizza kitchen needs to utilize. The cheese brings a coolness and creaminess to pies and plays well with so many topping combinations. Its slightly granular texture makes for a unique mouthfeel. It’s also an excellent choice in some pasta dishes.
Truth be told, it’s easy to make ricotta yourself if you’re looking to really up your culinary game. If you don’t want to invest the time and manpower into that, however, there are many great options on the market. The cheese is inherently “bland,” which means you’re using it to provide texture and to bring out flavors from other ingredients as opposed to expecting it to be the star of the show.
Typically speaking, I personally prefer to work with a flavorful cheese such as, say, Gorgonzola, when developing recipes. But ricotta is just so darn capable in too many capacities that it can’t be overlooked. And it’s a dream with tomato sauce.
One of my favorite summertime appetizers at home is a slice of grilled sourdough bread topped with a bit of olive oil, salt, homegrown cherry tomatoes and dollops of ricotta. I finish it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. It’s super simple, yet the flavor and textures are tough to beat.
You could easily menu this — call it bruschetta — with your choice of toasted bread. Sometimes I sub the ricotta out with goat cheese to coax out a tangy flavor profile. But you get the point!
When it comes to pizza, red sauce is the way to go when using ricotta, in my opinion. That red-white combo makes a powerful pair! As previously mentioned, the cheese will bring a coolness to the pie. So, I like to partner it with toppings that carry some spice. See, the cheese isn’t just for old-school cheesecake!
Here are a couple of recipes your customers might find interesting. As always, I encourage you to utilize these as a jumping-off point for your own experimentation.
Salami & Jalapeño
Sausage & Mushroom
One of the more natural ricotta uses would be as a calzone or ravioli filling. As you can see, there’s really no limit to the versatility here. For more recipes that utilize ricotta, click on the search icon at the top and type in ‘ricotta.’
Jeremy White is Editor-in-Chief at Pizza Today.