I love baked ricotta, but not the bastardized versions blended with eggs and herbs I have seen for sale. I do not know where these originated – not in Italy and definitely not Sicily!

I like to make the authentic, baked ricotta – unadulterated, white and fresh tasting in the centre, with a golden-brown crust. I particularly like it as a first course accompanied by a tomato salad and presented as a light meal.


Purchase the solid ricotta, in Australia usually sold by weight from four kilo shapes . The creamy variety sold in plastic tubs is not suitable.
In Sicily the ricotta is drained (on a rack overnight in the fridge) and just rubbed with salt and baked slowly uncovered until it becomes a dark golden colour. Sometimes, olive oil is rubbed over the ricotta before the salt is added, but not always. I also like to add a few herbs for flavour at the bottom of the ricotta while it is cooking and sometimes pepper (or red chili flakes) but this is not strictly traditional.




ricotta, fresh and a solid piece

extra virgin olive oil, to coat the ricotta
herbs:¼-½ cup dried oregano, enough to sprinkle as a covering and on the bottom
fresh rosemary and/or bay leaves (optional) placed under the ricotta
black pepper, ¼-½ cup or dried red chili flakes, 1 teaspoon (optional)
salt (flakes or coarse), to sprinkle on top.



The following cooking time is for a piece of ricotta weighing about 1 kilo.
Pre heat your oven to 180 C.
Oil the bottom of a baking tray, place a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper, and oregano (also the bay leaves and/or rosemary if you wish to include these).
Place the lump of ricotta (or wheel) on top of the flavourings.
Oil, the ricotta lightly – use your hands to coat it.
Sprinkle with the salt (I use flakes) and oregano – use your hands to ensure that it is well seasoned.

Cover with foil and bake in a 180 C for 15 minutes . Remove the foil and bake uncovered until the it has just begun to turn golden brown – it may take about 40 minutes or more, depending on the size.

Allow to cool before eating.

Cover with foil – this dish will keep well in the fridge for 3 days. A perfect dish to prepare well ahead of time.

In a restaurant in Syracuse I was presented with warm baked ricotta sprinkled with a coating of toasted pistachio nuts.
To make this version, rub the ricotta with olive oil and a little salt. Add the nuts in the last 20 minutes of cooking.

It can also double up as a dessert if dribbled with honey.


5 thoughts on “RICOTTA FRISCA‘NFURNATA – RICOTTA FRESCA INFORNATA (Baked, fresh ricotta)”

  1. My grandmother baked it, the we would use it grated over our pasta, nothing beats the smell in the house whilst baking, the warm pockets of oil inside…

    1. MAMA MIA…memories just came flooding back! I’ve been trying to replicate ricotta infornata like I remember from childhood with limited success..

  2. Have been trying for months. I am getting there, slowly after 4 trial. The key seems to be to drain the ricotta in a linen cloth with salt on top and bottom with a 20 lb weight on top for a day. After that i put the ricotta in a 6 inch metal baking pan.
    I then preheat oven at 220 F and put the pan in for 7 hours, repeat 7 hours. After 3 hours I take it out of the pan and leave it in the oven”formed”. After another 4 hours of baking, It will not be totally solid but I take it out and let it sit for a day. It will harden and be ready to be grated. Of course you have to make the necessary modifications to what I did because it s a trial and error excercice. You may need it to leave it at 220 degrees longer.. I tried with various brands but Galbani seems to work abetter that the other brands . My final product looks light brown on the outside, hard enough all over to grate and of course the taste is almost like it is in Sicily. Next time I ll try it with farm bought ricotta made with sheep milk rather than the industrialized product sold in store

    1. Thank you, most interesting. My dad lived in Adelaide and used to buy Ricotta that had been drained and salted and partially dried. He finished off the drying process in front of a cooling fan. We called this ricotta salata and this is what we grated on pasta. Sometimes my mum would colour it slightly by placing it in the oven. Congratulations for your determination.

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