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Ricotta salata great for crumbling

Ricotta salata great for crumbling

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Dear Lisa: I have a recipe that calls for "ricotta salata." Is this ricotta cheese like you use in lasagna? I can't find any containers of ricotta cheese that also have "salata" on the label.

Thanks. -- Christina G.

Dear Christina: Ricotta salata certainly is related to the familiar unripened fresh cheese used in so many Italian recipes.

In fact, ricotta salata simply means "salted ricotta."

To make it, fresh ricotta is salted, dried, pressed and aged, creating a cheese that can be sliced, shaved or crumbled.

Because it is aged, it has a much longer shelf life than fresh ricotta. But its dry texture won't melt well or make a creamy sauce like you might with fresh ricotta.

Ricotta salata is a great cheese for salads or for crumbling, though. Use it as a finisher over pasta or vegetables, much like you might use feta.

Depending on whether goat, sheep or cow's milk has been used, ricotta salata will have subtle flavor nuances, but all are quite mild.

Look for ricotta salata in the specialty cheese section at your grocery store deli.

Lisa Fritz, a longtime Bryan food and nutrition educator, answers readers' questions about food, cooking and recipes. Her email address is

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