Fresh ricotta, the delicious wages of the workers
Fresh ricotta is obtained from the whey that remains from the buttering of the XNUMX cups milk (i.e. the elimination of the fat part of the liquid, dedicated to butter and cheeses). The whey (serum albumin to be exact) is added with vegetable rennet and heated to 90 degrees, to coagulate and give rise to the ricotta. Drained away the excess liquid, the ricotta is ready for consumption.
For dairy farms - unlike what happens for the cheese, intended for more or less long aging - this production turns into cash in a few hours. This is why it is also called 'workers' wages'. Like new wine for winemakers.
Many versions of ricotta
Ricotta is commonly referred to as a dairy product. More properly a lacto-derivative, which thus distinguishes itself with respect to stretched curd dairy products.
The sector legislation, in the EU as in Italy, does not provide for a specific discipline. The only regulatory reference lies in a voluntary standard, UNI 10978: 2013, which establishes raw materials, production process and characteristics of fresh ricotta.
Moreover, the voluntary rule provides for the presence of at least 90% of whey, but the Italian production offers a much wider variety of ricotta. Those made of whey only, as well as others that vice versa give a part to accommodate an addition of milk or cream.
In the South, for example, the practice of adding a portion of whole milk to the whey is widespread, which heated to 85 degrees offers ricotta greater creaminess and aroma. This type of processing - which in industrial production is classified as cheese - also belongs to the tradition of podolic cow breeders, whose product is known as 'transhumance ricotta'.
Like all fresh cheeses, pasta filata (mozzarella cheese, burrata, scamorza), even ricotta has a bad relationship with the cold. Once placed in the refrigerator it changes flavor. Ricotta enthusiasts therefore recommend its tasting within a few hours of purchase, without refrigerating it.
To understand the difference between freshly prepared ricotta and that stored in the refrigerator for a day, it is enough to know that in Puglia, a land that boasts its excellence, shopkeepers give customers the ricotta from the day before, there considered useful only for preparing desserts. , but now unsuitable for tasting.
Italian ricotta for export
Ricotta Made in Italy has become a must even in distant countries, such as China, increasingly interested in Italian agri-food specialties. The tasting in Italy is unparalleled. However, modern food preservation technologies allow it to be consumed even in distant countries. There are two options available:
- the first is freezing, a practice that keeps the characteristics of the food intact, and is already used for another exceptional Italian dairy product, the mozzarella cheese,
- the alternative - adopted by Granarolo - is the transformation of the ricotta into crumbles. That is, the ricotta is extruded and frozen into small pieces. At destination, i crumbles they can be easily used for example on pizza, before putting them in the oven. The same technique is currently also used on mozzarella and mascarpone .
Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".