Ricotta is a creamy white, mild, fresh cheese with a soft texture and a slightly sweet flavour. Traditional Italian cheese-makers originally produce Ricotta from whey left behind in the making of Mozzarella and Provolone. You can also make ricotta cheese at home by separating the whey from whole milk.
Good Ricotta is firm but not solid, and consists of a mass of fine, moist, delicate granules. It can be eaten with a little salt, pepper and fresh herbs, although it is more commonly used in Italian pasta dishes and desserts. It is delicious in salads, dips, or with Prosciutto and melon. Ricotta is a favourite in Lasagne, Cannelloni, and in all filled pastas such as Ravioli and Tortellini. As a dessert cheese, Ricotta works well with honey, fruit, or chocolate, and makes an excellent low-fat addition to cheesecake recipes. It goes well also with berries, tangerines, melon, bagels, sweet rolls, and light white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc.
It is quite fattening and high in calories; however, it has much nutritional value from the vitamins and minerals it contains.
Fat and Calories
100 grams of ricotta cheese contain 161 kcal and 13 g of fat, out of which 8.3 g of fat comes from saturated fat, the type of fat that can mess up with your blood cholesterol levels and lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Part-skim ricotta has obviously less fat and calories per serving.
Carbs and Protein
100 grams of ricotta contain 4.5 g of carbs and 9.2 grams of protein. Both of these macronutrients contribute to your energy needs. Fat-free ricotta provides you with slightly less protein and more carbohydrates than whole milk ricotta; so in this case it´s better to opt for the whole milk ricotta.
Vitamins and Minerals
By including ricotta in your diet it will boost your calcium intake; one serving provides you 51 percent of the daily value. Part-skim ricotta may contain slightly more, but fat-free ricotta contains much less. A serving of ricotta cheese will also provide you with 39 percent of the daily value of phosphorus, 28 percent of riboflavin, 22 percent of vitamin A, 19 percent of zinc and 14 percent of the daily value of vitamin B-12. Amounts may vary in part-skim and fat-free varieties.