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Ricotta is a creamy, slightly sweet, fresh cheese that is the smooth Italian cousin of cottage cheese.
It can be a new post op’s very best friend – it’s not just a short term love but a long term relationship. I adore ricotta as a nine year post op. Early on when we are trying to find foods to rely on that don’t cause nausea, ricotta is often that first taste of heaven after days of liquids.
It is a delicious protein filled sweet breakfast or protein snack when swirled with sugar free preserves and a few slivered almonds, or sliced berries. One of my favorite sugar free desserts is a Sicilian Cannoli Pudding – ricotta is beaten smooth and mixed with Jell-O sugar free vanilla pudding mix, cinnamon, orange flower water, pistachios, and sugar free chocolate shavings. (recipe with exact measurements is in the sugar free dessert section of Before & After)
Place a scoop of cold ricotta in a shallow bowl and spoon warm homemade tomato basil sauce over and around; the result is off the chain good. For post ops that are having a hard time letting go of pasta, I invite them to try ricotta as a base for a ladle of hearty meat sauce and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Not all supermarket ricotta is equal! In my opinion Calabro is the best brand by far. It was also chosen as top brand in taste tests conducted by the folks at Cooks Illustrated. Calabro may be hard to find if you do not have a Whole Foods or Fresh Market in your neighborhood but when I am out I don’t hesitate to pick up a container of Polly-O. I use either whole milk or part skim varieties; I don’t buy fat free dairy products as food starches are used to achieve the creaminess eliminated when fat is removed. Fat free versions usually contain more carbs and are more processed than part skim or whole milk versions. Eat a little bit of something wholesome and wonderful than a larger portion of something fake and fat free.
Give it a try and Calabro or Polly-O Ricotta will be in a prized spot on your refrigerator shelf.