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What Is Ricotta Salata? Meet Sicily's Version Of Feta Cheese

This salty sheep milk’s cheese is an amazing enhancer to loads of Italian dishes - and here’s what it’s all about.

When we say ricotta, we’re generally talking about the fresh and fluffy cheese we layer in lasagnas and spread on crostini. Ricotta salata is entirely different.

 ricotta salata

What is it?

Ricotta salata is a salted ("salata”!) and aged version of the fresh and soft ricotta most ubiquitously found in the United States. While fresh ricotta is normally made with cow or buffalo milk, ricotta salata is made with sheep’s milk. It is pressed to release moisture, and aged for a minimum of 2 months.

 

What’s it like?

It has a crumbly, slightly dry texture that is very reminiscient to feta - which is why Ricotta Salata is often called the Italian feta. It can be grated, shaved or crumbled.

 

The flavor of Ricotta Salata is saltier than fresh ricotta - think a mixture between the sharpness of Pecorino, but with the wonderfully milky flavor of a fresh cheese like mozzarella or burrata.

 ricotta salata

How to use it?

Because of it’s dryer texture, like Parmesan or Pecorino, ricotta salata is perfect for topping pasta dishes, pizzas and beyond. It’s fantastic on a cheese board as well - it provides a great contrast to fresh fruit, and a delicious complement to cured meats and savory additions.

 

Try it on the classic Sicilian Pasta Alla Norma, or a fresh and flavorful salad like Giada’s Grilled Plum Salad.

 

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