Traditional, creamery, whey cheese made
from cow's milk. It is a basin-shaped cheese, pure white and wet but not sticky.
Good Ricotta should be firm, not solid and consist of a mass of fine, moist,
delicate grains, neither salted nor ripened. It is white, creamy and mild and is
primarily used as an ingredient in lasagna.
There are three distinct varieties of ricotta: ricotta salata moliterna (ewe's
milk whey), ricotta piemontese (cow's milk whey + 10% milk) and ricotta romana
(a byproduct of Romano cheese production).
Italian Three Cheese Chicken Cacciatore Pasta
1 lb. dried bow-tie pasta
2 T. olive oil
2 lb. skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into
1/4-inch-wide strips (4 breast halves)
2 small yellow onions, sliced
2 medium green bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
2 T. tomato paste
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
1/2 C. freshly grated Asiago or Romano cheese
2 C. (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
Bring 3 quarts water to boil in 6- to 8-quart pot over high heat. Stir in pasta
and return to boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, 7 to 9
minutes. Drain pasta and set aside until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat oil in large (12-to 14-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium-heat for 1
minute. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes or until no
longer pink. Remove chicken and reserve until ready to use.
In same skillet, cook onion and bell peppers over medium heat, stirring
occasionally, until onions and peppers are tender, about 8 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine vinegar and reserved chicken, and cook,
stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in reserved pasta
Stir together ricotta cheese, Asiago cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt and
pepper in medium bowl until well blended.
Spread ricotta mixture over skillet contents in even layer. Bake in preheated
oven 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Serve directly from skillet.
Makes 6-8 servings.