Hey, What’s Cookin’?
Today we’re all about pie. NO, not a sweet pie—a savory pie that makes a nice breakfast, a good lunch, or even a terrific light dinner. What’s the secret ingredient that make this pie worthy of your attention? RICOTTA. Yes, ricotta. And I know what you’re thinking–‘Um, aren’t cottage cheese and ricotta pretty much the same thing?’
Well, no, they are not the same thing at all! So what’s the difference? When a cheese maker separates milk or cream into curds and whey, the curds are used to make cottage cheese and the whey is cooked again to make ricotta (which means “recooked” in Italian). That’s why both cheeses, although similarly soft and mild in flavor, have such different textures. Both are considered “fresh” or unripened cheeses, because they are packaged and sent to market just as soon as they are made.
Nutritionally speaking, what are the differences between ricotta and cottage cheese? Generally, ricotta has a higher fat and calorie content (although there are very good low-fat versions) than cottage cheese, but less salt. 1/4 cup of low-fat ricotta cheese contains approximately:
- 60 calories
- 2.5 grams fat
- 55 mg. sodium
- 5 grams protein
Cottage cheese does have a little more protein than ricotta. There are now low- or no-salt versions you can buy, which is great for those who watch their sodium intake. 1/4 cup of regular low-fat cottage cheese contains approximately:
- 45 calories
- .5 gram fat
- 220 mg sodium
- 7 grams
Can you exchange cottage cheese for the ricotta in this recipe? Yes, as long as you use a low-fat variety, because fat-free cottage cheese will not “set” correctly. Also, you’ll want to run the cottage cheese through a food processor or a blender to make the texture more uniform and creamy before using it in the recipe.
Tomato and Basil Ricotta Pie
Adapted from a recipe on Genius Kitchen
- 2 cups low fat ricotta cheese
- 4 oz low-fat feta, crumbled
- 3 large eggs
- 1 garlic clove, mnced
- 1 bunch fresh basil, finely shredded (should make 1 cup lightly packed)
- 12 oz grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Oil a 9- or 10 inch pie plate with olive oil.
- Place ricotta, feta, eggs and garlic into a large bowl. Beat, with a hand mixer or spoon, until smooth. Stir in basil.
- Put into prepared pie plate and smooth the top. Arrange the tomatoes halves on top, cut-side up.
- Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until set and golden.
- Cool pie completely. Place pie in refrigerator for 1 hour so it firms up.
- You can serve the pie straight from the refrigerator, or allow it to come to room temperature first, or warm it slightly in the microwave on 50% power.
Notes: You may wish to grind black pepper over the top of the entire pie before serving.
Photograph via Pinterest