Top Five Things to Do with Ricotta

There was a time when we'd use a cup or two of ricotta for a specific recipe and scratch our heads over what to do with the rest. Not wanting to waste it, we started adding spoonfuls to our everyday recipes. Now we can't get enough of it!

Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate ricotta (leftover or otherwise!) into our cooking:

1. To Enrich Sauces: Try adding a scoop or two of ricotta to pasta sauce just at the very end. It adds a lot of flavor and creaminess without a lot of extra fat.

2. To Enrich Egg Dishes: As with sauces, we find that a few spoons of ricotta give egg dishes an extra layer of richness. We also find that it makes our eggs a little fluffier. Try it in omlettes, scrambled eggs, and frittatas!

3. Layered in Gratins and Lasagna: This is an old classic and one of the ways that we first started using ricotta. It makes a good flavor base without adding a lot of extra moisture.

4. As a Quick Spread or Dip: We never realized how delicious ricotta can be all on its own! Good quality or home-made ricotta on toast makes a simple snack. We also make fancier spreads and dips by mixing in things like fresh herbs, roasted red peppers, or lemon zest. (Or honey and nuts for a sweet dessert!)

5. In Baking: Ricotta pancakes are just heavenly. They're moist and fluffy with just a hint of tartness. We also like ricotta in breads, muffins, and coffee cakes.

Where else do you use ricotta?

Related: Recipe: Easy Ricotta Gnocchi

(Image: Flickr member cpalmieri licensed under Creative Commons)