There is something unassumingly spectacular about ricotta cheese. It’s oftentimes the underdog—a reluctant star that likes to hide between layers of noodles and shroud itself in thick tomato sauce. It’s time this cheese (that isn’t a cheese at all—there’s no starter or rennet involved) steps into the limelight and receives due praise for its unique texture, flavor and the fact it can make or break a ratatouille, lasagna or ravioli.
The dishes and desserts found below are our favorites featuring the Italian classic. And here’s what we suggest: Make the ricotta from scratch. Buttermilk and whole milk is all that’s needed to create your own and it tastes infinitely better than store-bought. The simple combo is so good you can enjoy the ricotta with only a light drizzling of honey and sprinkling of berries.
—Emily Arno, Relish Multimedia Editor