Lean, fresh dairy preparation, obtained from the residual whey of cheese from cow, sheep, goat or mixed milk, with the addition of raw whole milk up to about 10%.
This is produced all year round mainly in the mountain areas of the province of Messina (Nebrodi and Peloritani mountains).
From a technical point of view, ricotta, despite being a dairy product, cannot be defined as "cheese" but must be classified as a dairy product or "dairy preparation" because it is not obtained from the coagulation of the milk casein, but from that of the whey proteins of the milk.
The baked ricotta generally has a cylindrical shape with rounded edges derived, most likely from the collapse from the truncated cone shape typical of fresh ricotta when it is placed in ceramic plates to be baked; the faces are more or less convex with a diameter of 12 ÷ 16 cm, a rounded side of 5 ÷ 8 cm and a weight of 1.0 ÷ 1.2 kg. The organoleptic characteristics depend above all on the baking which, if done with the traditional method, is repeated 4 to 5 times, in relation to the seasoning and the type of baked ricotta to be produced (for fresh consumption or grated). The surface is covered by a thin skin, sometimes rigid and crunchy, of an amber-reddish brown color depending on the steps in the oven. The paste is brown-yellow in color, quite tender and finely grainy or medium hard and crumbly, very compact in the center of the shape, but with widespread irregular holes localized in the outer layer of the paste. The flavor is delicate, neither sweet nor salty; smell / aroma with medium-low persistence, with evident recognitions of cooked and toasted lactic type.
The most frequent use of the product, especially after numerous passages in the oven, is in the kitchen, for grating ", to flavor and give creaminess to dry pasta, or various" baked "recipes.