A longtime staple on Italian menus, ricotta salata has recently become an “in” cheese for chefs around the globe. It makes sense: It’s an incredibly versatile wedge, providing cooks with both acid and salt, two crucial components for any successful dish. While much firmer than its dollopy cousin, (that would be regular ol’ ricotta), ricotta salata is also made from whey—specifically, that of Pecorino Romano. Since it’s a sheep’s milk cheese, the block boasts a slightly gamy flavor. Here, we use the tart, crumbly wheel to kick up chicken salad, lend a zesty note to couscous, brighten pork ragu, and more. After all, comfort food shouldn’t be one-note.
Serve this ragu over pasta, polenta, or—as here—with thick slices of toasted bread. The ragu freezes well, so double the recipe if you’d like.
Serve this simple yet stunning chicken salad over leaves of crisp lettuce or on a buttery croissant.
This couscous dish is prepared risotto style, giving it a deep, satisfying flavor and texture.
Once poached, toss the gnocchi in melted butter or olive oil and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Simply warm in the sauce or bake as a gratin.
Splurge on high-quality wild mushrooms for this recipe—we especially love oyster, enoki, and shiitake varieties.
Photographed by Jennifer Silverberg.