Prepare to fall in love with incredibly creamy whipped ricotta—which takes just two minutes to make.
I probably don’t need to sell you on the benefits of keeping a tub of ricotta cheese in your fridge. The mild, creamy cheese does wonders when dolloped onto pizzas and layered into lasagnas. But I’ve got one more reason to always have the versatile cheese on hand—and it’s so you can make whipped ricotta.
Whipping ricotta in the food processor transforms it into an incredibly smooth, spreadable cheese—a blank canvas that can be paired with any number of flavors and ingredients. To make it, simply place 3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese and 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper in a food processor, and process until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. That's it! I recommend using whole-milk ricotta, which is creamier and richer than part-skim and therefore makes for a more luscious spread. Once you've tried the basic formula, add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a spicy version, the zest of a lemon for a bit of tang, a handful of fresh herbs for a vibrant, green-tinged ricotta, or a drizzle of honey for a sweeter spread.
Wondering what to do with it? My favorite way to use whipped ricotta is as the base for a bounty of seasonal vegetables. Spread it onto a platter in swooshes, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and top with roasted root vegetables in the winter, or raw heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer. In the spring, when colorful carrots are at their peak, I love making Roasted Carrots With Whipped Ricotta, Farro, and Crispy Cabbage. The crispy cabbage and chopped pistachios are the perfect complement to the creamy ricotta, tender carrots, and chewy farro.
When it’s warm enough to grill, slather slices of grilled bread with the whipped ricotta and finish with your favorite crostini toppings. Or, serve it in a bowl topped with pomegranate seeds and mint, and serve with pita chips, flatbread, and crudité.
WATCH: Italian Ricotta Cheesecake
If you discover you’re even more in love with ricotta than you thought (we bet you will), consider making it yourself. Fresh homemade ricotta requires just 3 ingredients, and is well worth the effort.