This ricotta cheese mixture features mozzarella and Romano cheeses and is perfect for filling your favorite Italian baked dishes - lasagna, baked ziti, manicotti and more.
In fact, the recipe comes courtesy of my half-Italian father who is responsible for teaching me how to cook.
This mixture is so simple to make, yet it adds a tremendous amount of flavor to these dishes rather than just using plain ricotta.
What ingredients are in the mix?
Well, besides ricotta cheese of course, the mixture also has mozzarella and Romano cheeses, as well as fresh parsley, black pepper and eggs.
You can also use garlic powder if you'd like, depending on the amount of garlic in the sauce you are using.
For the most part, the blend of the three cheeses with the parsley and black pepper will complement almost any tomato sauce you're going to use in your pasta dishes.
Over spicing the cheese mixture can clash with the sauce causing the overall flavor of the dish to be a bust.
What are the best cheeses to use for ricotta cheese filling?
For starters, you want to use a creamy, whole milk ricotta such as Biazzo or Galbani.
Using a ricotta that is too watery will cause a runny result, and nobody wants that. 😉
However, if you do find that your ricotta is a little too watery, you can always strain it using cheesecloth before mixing it with the other ingredients.
To do so, scoop ricotta into a large cheesecloth.
Pull up the corners of the cheesecloth and twist to form a bundle.
Hold the bundle of cheese over a bowl so the water will drip into it.
Keep a tight hold of the bundle with one hand and start squeezing with your other hand from the top down to remove excess water.
For the mozzarella, you want to use a high-quality brand, again such as Biazzo or Galbani.
You can use either whole milk or part skim, but either way, be sure to choose one labeled "low-moisture."
Now, about the Romano cheese...it has to be pure Pecorino Romano.
I would recommend Locatelli brand Pecorino Romano, but you can use your favorite.
On a side note, Locatelli was my ultimate favorite cheese as a child.
My father used to joke that he was going to go broke from having to spend a fortune on all the grated cheese I alone was consuming.
He even went as far as to start buying blocks that we had to grate ourselves.
Apparently, the logic was that I wouldn't use as much cheese because my hand would get tired.
Yeah, OK Dad, so that plan was a flop! Pass me that grater...I'll show you how it's done! 🙂
Please note that Romano cheese is not technically considered vegetarian because it contains animal rennet. However, you can use a vegetarian-friendly Parmesan in it's place if you prefer.
You'll also want to make sure the brand of mozzarella you are using is also vegetarian-friendly.
This article from Vegetatio includes a list of vegetarian cheese brands and types.
How to make this ricotta cheese mixture
Add ricotta cheese to a large mixing bowl.
Add shredded mozzarella and grated Romano cheeses.
After stirring in the cheeses, add the eggs.
After stirring in the eggs, add fresh parsley and optional garlic powder.
Stir to combine, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Ricotta Cheese Mixture
- 32 oz ricotta cheese (2 lb. container)
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese *see notes below regarding using vegetarian-friendly cheese
- ⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese *see notes below regarding using vegetarian-friendly cheese
- 2 eggs
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves (finely chopped)
- ½ tsp garlic powder (optional)
- Place ricotta cheese in a large mixing bowl.
- Add mozzarella and Romano cheeses and stir.
- Stir in eggs.
- Add in black pepper and parsley as well as the garlic powder if you're using it. Stir together and refrigerate until ready to use (use within 24 hours).
(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs for this recipe)
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