Ricotta is a fresh cheese that we go crazy for. Its mild flavor and rich, creamy texture makes it a perfect comfort food. From pillowy gnocchi to airy coffee mousse, we’ve rounded up our favorite ricotta recipes.
You can buy ricotta at a supermarket, but it’s easy to make it at home. All you have to do is cook together milk, buttermilk, and half & half, let the mixture cool, and strain it through a cheesecloth. That’s all there is to it. You’ll never get the store-bought stuff again.
One of the simplest ways to enjoy fresh ricotta is on a crostini. Try pairing it with simple toppings like spicy soppressata, sweet broiled cherry tomatoes, or black olives, lemon zest, and mint. For something a little heartier, top your ricotta crostini with rosemary-scented cannellini beans spicy sautéed broccoli rabe.
Fresh ricotta makes for beautifully ethereal gnocchi. Check out our vibrant beet and ricotta gnocchi with wilted beet greens and tangy balsamic vinegar or earthy buckwheat gnocchi with cream, peas, and spinach. For gnocchi that are soft but still substantial, we use both ricotta and potato. Try them served in a tomato sauce with briny olives and capers.
With its tangy sweetness, ricotta is a refined dessert ingredient. It serves as the base for our easy but elegant coffee mousse, which is rich, creamy, and just a little bitter. Mixed with an egg, ricotta bakes into an amazing custard. We love topping baked ricotta with a floral cherry-orange blossom compote.
Find all of these dishes and more in our collection of ricotta recipes.
This recipe comes courtesy of Jenn Louis, chef-owner of
Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, Oregon. We featured Louis’ ricotta gnocchi in our April 2015 issue, and we can’t stop making this super-creamy ricotta—to add to gnocchi and everything else—because it’s so easy and so darn good. Get the recipe for Homemade Ricotta »
A mix of sautéed mushrooms, toasted walnuts, ricotta, thyme, honey, and pappardelle, this pasta dish needs only a green salad on the side.
Get the recipe for Pappardelle with Mixed Mushrooms, Ricotta, and Walnuts »
Grilled Corn and Ricotta Dip
Spring Pea Ravioli with Prosciutto & Pea Shoots
These soft gnocchi from Tuscany are the ultimate version of the kind most commonly served at Italian-American restaurants. The dish is amped up with briny chopped capers and green olives.
Get the recipe for Ricotta and Egg Gnocchi with Olives, Capers, and Tomato Sauce »
Buckwheat and Ricotta Gnocchi with Cream, Peas, and Spinach
For this Piedmontese dish, a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar adds a tangy complexity.
A dollop of ricotta on earthy-sweet oat bread is delicious; add a drizzle of sourwood honey and it’s elevated to the exquisite. For a bit of sophisticated heat, top with a sprinkle of freshly-crushed red pepper flakes.
Adapted from Anna Watson Carl’s cookbook
The Yellow Table, this salad is best made in the winter when blood oranges are readily available. Navel oranges make a good substitute in other seasons—either way, it’ll be the prettiest dish on the table.
This epic Genoese tart, filled with swiss chard, was traditionally made with 33 layers of dough—one for each year of Christ’s life.
Ricotta pancakes soaked in cardamom syrup and sprinkled with pistachios make a creamy, ethereal dessert.
Get the recipe for Ricotta Pancakes in Cardamom Syrup (Malpura) »
Frozen cherries and orange blossom water make a deliciously sweet topping for creamy baked ricotta.
These crunchy Sicilian fritters are topped with a cinnamon-ricotta filling.
Get the recipe for St. Joseph’s Day Fritters »
In Corsica, these herb-packed cheese dumplings showcase the wild greens of the island and make a great starter course to a summer meal.
This scramble of fresh ricotta, flavored with chiles, onions, and tomatoes, is delicious wrapped in warm tortillas or piled on toasted bread.
Get the recipe »
Fabrizia Lanza taught us to make this classic Sicilian cake, rimmed in pistachio marzipan.
Get the recipe for Sicilian Cassata Cake »
Like a lot of chefs, Jared Bennett of
Metropole in Cincinnati is into charring vegetables to amplify their natural sweetness inside, and lend them a pleasantly bitter crust. The secret, he says, is precooking many of the vegetables and then just searing them in a smoking-hot cast-iron pan, so they don’t go to mush before getting a char. One of his signatures: this sweet potato side dish with pomegranate, lemon juice, pistachio, and ricotta salata. Get the recipe for Charred Sweet Potatoes with Pickled Shallots, Pistachios, and Ricotta Salata »
Squash, peppers, or eggplant can be substituted for the zucchini in this simple, savory summer pie.
Get the recipe for Zucchini, Onion and Ricotta Pie (Torta Salata di Zucchine e Cipolle) »
Calzones don’t always have to be baked—this ham and ricotta version is deep-fried.
This hefty calzone is stuffed with ricotta and two types of cured pork, and topped with a tangy tomato sauce.
Get the recipe for Ham and Cheese Calzone (Calzone di Prosciutto e Ricotta) »
Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Bean, and Ricotta Crostini
Home cook Yelena Bachko gave us the recipe for these tangy, tender pancakes, made with
tvorog (a type of quark).
Calabrians in Italy sometimes add sliced cured sausage to this popular frittata on Easter, to celebrate the end of Lent.
Syrup-Soaked Cheese Pastry (Knafeh)
In this dish, zucchini are stuffed with the twin stars of Calabrian cheese making: pecorino and ricotta. Flecked with tomato and mint, they are equally good eaten hot or at room temperature.
Asian-style toppings—shredded snow crab, spicy shishito peppers, ginger-wasabi aïoli—adorn a Western-style pizza at Park Hyatt Tokyo’s
New York Bar.
Elegant and easy to prepare, a classic mousse flavored with espresso and topped with a dusting of chocolate is a great way to end a romantic meal.
Tangy tomato sauce, bolstered with mushrooms, zucchini, and squash, tops these tender ravioli filled with spinach and cheese.
Made with a simple egg batter, this feta-studded tart hails from the region of Epirus in southeastern Europe.
Get the recipe for Epiran Feta Tart (Alevropita) »
A portion of the crust for this pizza is stuffed with earthy roasted mushrooms to mimic a tennis racket handle.
Every part of the orange is used in this subtly sweet tart, including the zest, juice, and flesh. If temple oranges are not available, navel oranges or tangerines make excellent substitutions.
Get the recipe for Temple-Orange Tart »
Creamy, luscious cows’ or sheep’s milk ricotta pairs beautifully with soppressata and grilled, toasted, or fried slices of crusty bread for a simple and rustic crostini.
Ripe cherry tomatoes add sweetness to crostini topped with fresh ricotta.
The combination of lemon zest, flavorful olives, and refreshing mint gives this crostini a Mediterranean twist.