Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ricotta Fresca

For me, there is nothing better than fresh ricotta, the original sheep’s milk ricotta. During the spring season, sheep graze on fresh young grass and herbs, which import a delicate flavor to the ricotta.

Often times misrepresented, ricotta is actually not a cheese but a creamy curd. Shepherds utilize whey, a limpid, low-fat, nutritious liquid that is a by-product of cheese production. This leftover hot whey has milk solids and proteins that solidifies under high heat. When the whey is reheated, the solid parts fuse, create a curd, and are skimmed off. This curd, after drainage, is ricotta. Ricotta is known as a lean dairy product and contains very little fat, less than 5%, and very noble proteins; lactoalbumin and lactoglobulin.

The curd is literally cooked twice, re-cooked like its name.
Every week a Shepherd stops by our house to deliver his artisanal creations. His ricotta just happens to be my favorite. I think I see a Torta di Ricotta in the future…

Our plate of ricotta sitting next to my festa della donna mimosa flower arrangement, that was delivered on Saturday....

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