Our 5 Favorite Wines To Go With Ricotta Cheese
Some cheeses are meant to be enjoyed amongst mild company. Think of a moist slice of brie atop a poppy seed cracker or warm, melty camembert eaten by the forkful.
By the same token, some cheeses love bold, rich company. Ricotta certainly falls into this latter category.
With a moist, fresh texture and delightfully milky flavor profile, ricotta is one of the premier Italian cheeses for enriching each and every dish.
Take classic veggie-infused recipes like barilla lasagna and spinach stuffed shells — ricotta doesn’t simply add to these dishes; it completes them.
This fluffy, fresh cheese also makes a delightful pairing to many of your favorite European varietals.
Let’s learn a bit more about this pillowy Italian cheese and discover 5 effervescent wines to elevate your favorite Italian dishes.
What Exactly Is Ricotta?
If you’ve ever had a rich, gooey baked ziti, you’ve likely enjoyed the cheesy goodness of ricotta. This classic Italian cheese walks the tightrope between light and decadent, combining an airy texture with a delicious, fatty flavor.
While it’s typically made from cow’s milk, ricotta can also originate from sheep, goat, or even buffalo milk.
Ricotta roughly translates to “recooked” in Italian. Why? Well, we have to learn a bit about the cheesemaking process to explain.
In the traditional cheesemaking process, cheesemakers heat whey, coagulate the curds, and strain out the liquids (whey) from the solids (curds). Typically, the curds become cheese while the whey is transformed into many different products like protein powder and soup stock.
This is where ricotta’s different. Conventionally, ricotta is made from the little chunks of curd that remain in the whey after straining.
In a sense, it’s a naturally sustainable cheese, given that it’s made from the cheese remnants that producers might normally discard.
Where does all of this leave ricotta? Well, it imbues ricotta with a fresh moistness unique within the world of cheese. If you’ve never tried it, imagine a mixture between the taste of mozzarella and the texture of whipped cream cheese.
What Italian Dishes Feature Ricotta?
Think of sun-dried tomato pesto gnocchi, stuffed shells bursting with fresh cheese, or even a slice of moist lemon cheesecake.
Dozens of classic Italian dishes build upon the fluffy, sweet flavors of ricotta.
If your soup needs a bit more texture and viscosity, try adding a dollop of ricotta. If your pizza is a bit light on mozzarella, tack on a spoonful of ricotta.
Ricotta also makes a delicious dip for crunchy bell peppers or fresh veggies, especially when paired with chives and garlic.
This fresh cheese isn’t just for tomato-based pasta and pizza dishes. It’s also a delightful pair to many of your favorite bottles of wine!
Given that it’s a moist, yogurt-like cheese, ricotta’s cheese wine pairings are t different from many of its cheesy Italian cousins.
Let’s learn about 5 of the crispest, brightest, and pleasantly acidic wines to pair with your next rich ricotta dish.
5 Best Wines With Ricotta Cheese
This classic dry white wine originates from the historic Loire Valley in France. In fact, the name “Sauvignon Blanc” roughly translates to “wild white” as the grapes grew wild in the valley up until a couple of hundred years ago.
This white wine has since become one of the top varietals produced throughout all of France and the broader Mediterranean. On the palate, winter fruit flavors of white peach and honeydew round out a dry yet vibrant sipping experience.
Best paired with green and herbaceous dishes, Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect match for a zucchini ricotta flatbread or spinach and ricotta cannelloni.
Another popular grape found in the Loire Valley is Chenin Blanc. With subtle tannins and tropical fruit flavors like pineapple, it’s one of the sweeter whites you’ll find cultivated throughout the French countryside.
Now that it’s blossoming beyond French borders in burgeoning wine regions like South Africa, Chenin Blanc is experiencing a bit of a renaissance.
It’s time this varietal enjoyed a taste of Italy with light ricotta dishes like spinach rustic pie or fluffy, baked ricotta.
As one of the premier white varietals in the world right now, Pinot Grigio shouldn’t need any introduction. But we’ll give one to the wine novices out there!
With a rich European heritage, this white grape has since spread throughout the New World including the temperate Pacific Northwest regions of northern California, Oregon, and Washington.
It’s crisp, zesty, and delightfully bright with acidity. But hang on, what’s the difference between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris? Are they the same wine?
While Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are made from the same grape, they do differ in one key way. Pinot Grigio is a crisp white from Italy and other New World regions while Pinot Gris often tastes a tad sweeter and usually originates from the Alsace region of France.
As a high-acid white, Pinot Grigio pairs best with lighter dishes suffused with tangy herbs. Think dishes like ricotta-enriched asparagus and pea salad or grilled ricotta bruschetta.
Originating from the Iberian peninsula, this dry white wine is famous for its powerful, lemon citrus notes and concentrated acidity.
The grape made its home on the Spanish-Portuguese border during the time of Ancient Rome and has since become one of the most widely grown blending grapes.
Albariño makes up the vast majority of the grapes grown in the Rias Baixas region of Galicia, Spain as well as the Minho region in Portugal.
With bright acidity and an extremely light mouthfeel, Albariño is particularly known for its pairings with lighter meat dishes like roast chicken or halibut. It also works wonders with a light cheese like ricotta, especially in a dish like a tomato and plum salad.
Finally, any ricotta food pairings list would be incomplete without a mention of this cheese’s Italian cousin, Prosecco.
As the term “Prosecco” is a protected DOC, any bottle earning the label must be produced with at least 85% of Glera grapes originating from the Italian districts of Veneto or Friuli-Venezia-Giulia.
This crisp white sparkler delivers effervescent bubbles with fruity flavors of honeysuckle, peach, and green apple. In top vintages, you’ll also find secondary notes of cream and hazelnut.
With its fragrant profile, Prosecco makes a perfect pair to ricotta-based dishes like a four-layer lasagna or broccolini, mushroom, and ricotta conchiglie.
Reel In Ricotta With Wine Insiders
With its pillowy texture and sweet, fatty flavor profile, ricotta is the ultimate fresh Italian cheese.
It works wonders alongside mozzarella and parmesan in a triple-layer baked ziti as well as in asparagus, ricotta, and prosciutto quiche.
Many forget that this airy cheese also makes a wonderful pair to many top bottles of wine. Let’s change that.
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