It might not be as famous as fresh ricotta, but its distinct flavor and texture will surely elevate any dish. Find out what ricotta salata is all about!
Salata means ‘salted,’ hence ricotta salata is translated as ‘salted ricotta.’
Although originally produced in the southernmost part of Italy, the island of Sicily, it is now produced in other regions — Basilicata and Lazio, to name a few.
Regardless of which region it comes from, it can always be identified by its saltiness and dry, crumbly texture.
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RICOTTA SALATA vs. RICOTTA
Aside from being aged longer (at least 90 days), it is the drier, nuttier, saltier version of fresh ricotta.
While fresh ricotta is soft and spreadable, ricotta salata’s dry texture makes them great for grating, slicing, or crumbling.
RICOTTA SALATA SUBSTITUTE
Although feta is not as nutty and slightly more wet because it is aged in brine, it is the closest cheese that I can think of that will work as a substitute.
It is, however, almost twice as salty as ricotta salata cheese, so you must use less or soak them first before using them on your dish.
No, because of its dry texture, it will not melt well, unlike fresh ricotta.
What do you do with ricotta salata?
Baked Ricotta Salata
It’s common to bake it in Sicily, as I’ve experienced when we were in Siracusa.
The result is a more complex combination of smokiness and saltiness — deeper flavors in every bite.
It is a traditional Sicilian pasta with a sauce made of fried eggplant and tomatoes — you will never see any other cheese on top of it except grated ricotta salata cheese.
So, if you’re thinking of using Parmigiano Reggiano next time, don’t.
Take your cue from the locals and see for yourself why it’s a winning combo.
Roasted eggplant and tomato bruschetta
You’ll get the smokiness of the eggplant, the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes, and the slight saltiness of the ricotta salata — hard to go wrong with those flavors.
Nah, it will go excellently with almost any type of bruschetta, so feel free to try it with your favorites!