It is not surprising that fresh ricotta, the proper kind made with ewe’s milk, is frequently served as an antipasto at the Roman table. It is delicious served on its own, with just a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil and accompanied by fragrant bread or white pizza. A lot of taste and no work at all. It is so good that it is a rare thing indeed for any to be left over. And yet this is precisely what happened to me after a dinner not so long ago. No problem, we ate more of it the following day. When it came to the day after that, however, and with the concern that the use-by date was inching closer by the minute, I had to contemplate on how to proceed.
I could have used it to make a ricotta pie (crostata di ricotta), that would have been one option – but with only a few months to go before we bare our vile bodies in sun workship during the bathing season, this family is shying away from desserts and superfluous accoutrements to the diet. The only conclusion I could summon, in that non-rational way that accounts for so much human inconsistency in behaviour, was to resort to frying it. I decided to use the leftover ricotta to make “la ricotta fritta” which is a staple of the traditional Roman fried antipasti (il fritto romano). Why we don’t make this ricotta fritta more often beats me … See for yourself.
The ricotta in the bowl on the left (together with some mint leaves), some flour, and a couple of eggs. Some olive oil … to fry the ricotta in. Beat the eggs and add just a smidgeon of salt. Shape the ricotta into patties. Dredge them in the flour, shaking off any excess flour. Bathe them in the egg wash … Set aside … Start frying. Turn them over once … Drain off any excess oil on some kitchen paper … Serve piping hot.Can you see why these ricotta fritters are so lovable!