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My Favorite 1-Ingredient Swap for the Best Lasagna

You’ll really notice the difference when reheating leftovers.

<p>Dotdash Meredith Food Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Ricotta is a traditional choice when it comes to many Italian American dishes, but swapping in cottage cheese might actually make your next lasagna even better. Cottage cheese has a reputation as a ho-hum diet food, but its mild taste and light texture make it an excellent choice for baked pasta dishes.

How Ricotta and Cottage Cheese Are the Same (and Different)

In many ways, ricotta and cottage cheese are like siblings. Both cheeses are fresh, meaning they aren’t aged like varieties such as cheddar or Parmesan. And both cheeses are (usually) made from cow’s milk. But they also have their own unique properties. In Italian, the word ricotta means “recooked.” Traditionally it was made from extra whey, a byproduct of cheese-making. That whey is heated up again (“recooked”) and the result is creamy, mildly sweet ricotta. Cottage cheese, on the other hand, is made from a mixture of milk curds and cream. It’s a bit saltier than ricotta and the curds lend it a chunkier texture.

Why Cottage Cheese Is a Great Sub for Ricotta

So, if you’ve always used ricotta cheese in your lasagna recipes, why make the switch? For one, cottage cheese’s light texture is the ideal complement to the acidic tomato sauce and tender noodles in baked pasta dishes. Many cooks find the texture of cottage cheese to be less dry and chalky than ricotta. The improvement in texture is especially noticeable when reheating leftovers (and honestly aren’t leftovers the best part of making an extra-large tray of lasagna?). Plus, cottage cheese is a bit higher in protein and lower in fat, so if you’re looking to increase the nutrient profile of your lasagna, this swap could be an easy way to do it.

Both cheeses are commonly found in almost all grocery stores, but sometimes ricotta cheese isn’t available or out of stock. In that case, cottage cheese can be a real dinner lifesaver. If you have a favorite lasagne, stuffed shell, or baked manicotti recipe, you can easily use cottage cheese as a 1:1 swap. So, if the recipe calls for 16 ounces of ricotta, use the same amount of cottage cheese.

Pro tip: For the creamiest texture, choose cottage cheese with small curds instead of large and opt for the full-fat version. Additionally, cottage cheese is a bit saltier than ricotta, so you may need to decrease the salt in your recipe a tad.

If you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to ricotta, you could experiment with using a mix of both cheeses. But if you’re intrigued by the idea of creamy lasagne that reheats beautifully, give cottage cheese a try.

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Allrecipes Magazine
Allrecipes Magazine

Read the original article on All Recipes.