Did you know that soft, delicious ricotta cheese isn’t really a cheese at all? It’s actually a by-product of cheese-making. We’ve assembled some facts about the history of this extremely versatile “cheese,” along with a simple recipe for a ricotta tart that combined with any seasonal fruit makes for a treat of sweet perfection.
So, ricotta isn’t a cheese. It’s actually a creamy curd that has been cooked twice. The excess whey leftover when making cheese is skimmed off and then recooked, at which point the albumin in the whey solidifies and becomes the ricotta cheese we know and love. Of course, something this delicious has many potential origins, but it almost certainly evolved, as so many ancient foods did, out of necessity. It came from “peasant thrift, dairy farmyard recycling and domestic frugality.” There are a few things we know for certain about ricotta’s past. Continue reading