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Apulian Cooking
MEDITERRANEAN DIET
Ricotta
Tasty, nutritious and light
Very easy to digest, a source of high biological value protein and very versatile in cooking.
In its food group, it is the lowest in fat but if you’re on a diet it’s best not to overdo it
by Novella Pranzo
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Ricotta. Photo by Dario Ersetti

First of all, it must be said that ricotta does not contain casein, so it is not exactly considered a cheese but a dairy product. When produced by artisans it is made from whey proteins which is why it is so easy to digest.

It’s very versatile and in cooking it can be used in a great many ways: it can be found in all courses, from starters to dessert.

Ricotta is considered the most low-fat cheese product and artisanal ricotta made of cow’s milk is absolutely the lowest in fat. It is very high in calcium, minerals and vitamins and an excellent source of high biological value protein.

It is found in many diets and is always present in the Mediterranean diet, but care should be taken of the number of times it is consumed per week. Although it is one of the leanest cheese products, it is still between 8% and 20% fat. 100 grams of meat or fish can contain as little as 0.1%. This shows that cow’s ricotta is not a low-fat food but simply has the lowest fat content of its group (dairy and cheese). It is important to stress this fact because many people erroneously eat large amounts of ricotta, or eat it very often during the week, thinking, “anyway, it’s not fattening” and they don’t realize that with mistakes like this it’s very hard to maintain their ideal weight.

So far we have been talking about cow’s ricotta, but now and then if you feel like breaking loose and being a bit greedy, you should remember that sheep and buffalo ricotta is also delicious (with the same characteristics as cow’s ricotta but a lot more fatty and irresistible). These kinds of ricotta are not recommended in low calorie diets, unless it is for an occasional treat.

The only case where ricotta is not to be eaten, due to its high lactose content (3,5%), is obviously in the diet of those who are lactose intolerant.

It is important to buy artisanal ricotta, since the industrial equivalent may have a higher fat content caused by cream and milk being added during processing (making it softer and tastier). To avoid making mistakes and eating a product that is fatter than you imagine, it’s important to read the food label, which is the identity card of the products we eat every day.

 

 

  Nutrition facts per 100 grams of cow’s ricotta:

 

- energy: 146 Kcal

- protein: 8.8 g

- fats: 10.9 g

- glucides:3.5 g

- cholesterol: 57 g

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