What Is The Best Substitute For Ricotta Cheese In Pasta Recipes?

When you think of Italian cuisine, odds are, pasta is one of the first things that come to mind. It's hearty, the perfect comfort food, and versatile enough to make your own. There are roughly 26 staple pasta sauces, with the basics being bolognese, Alfredo, pesto, vodka, and so on. To take it even further, there are over 350 different types of pasta shapes, with about 1,400 names for them, according to Italy Magazine. Pretty excessive, right? Well, considering there are many different intricate pasta shapes, there is one in particular that is easy and low maintenance — lasagna noodles. Furthermore, the meat sauce is easy to make, as it doesn't require vigorous whisking or finicking emulsifying.

The best part of every lasagna is the creaminess of the ricotta cheese. It can be dolloped with a spoon or piped through a pastry bag, and it provides the perfect contrast to the hearty meat sauce, tender noodles, and melty mozzarella cheese. However, if you want to lighten up your dish on the next lasagna night, one ingredient mimics ricotta cheese with a fraction of the fat.

Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is the perfect low-fat alternative to ricotta in a lasagna recipe, but there is a step required to achieve a similar consistency. Cottage cheese is known for its lumps, yet it also has a milky liquid to keep it smooth and spoonable. Straining the cottage cheese will give you a thicker texture that resembles ricotta cheese closely. You can use a food processor for more smoothness if needed. From there, simply spoon onto your meat sauce and continue layering with noodles, sauce, cottage cheese, and mozzarella cheese.

According to Foxes Love Lemons, this combination is actually very popular in the Midwestern states of the U.S. and is used because cottage cheese is much more affordable and abundant compared to ricotta cheese. Because you want the cottage cheese to melt into the mix, it's best to use small curd cottage cheese. Large curds don't melt as well and could leave you with unwanted lumps in each bite. Small curds tend to blend in and resemble ricotta the best.