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March 11, 2022

The Iblea ricotta. Ragusa and surroundings

Going to the discovery of the places of the Iblei Mountains you will discover a feature that determines the landscape: kilometers of dry stone walls in those lands that were once the home of breeders and shepherds. Today, in those spontaneous pastures, the Modicana breed cows feed, which produce the PDO cow’s milk. The resulting products are famous and of the highest quality: Ragusano caciocavallo and ricotta iblea.

Production of Iblea ricotta

Ricotta is a traditionally Italian product and can be made from cow’s or sheep’s milk. That Iblea is made from cow’s milk, produced in the Ragusa area, from Modicana cows. Ricotta takes its name from its manufacturing process that is “cooked twice” that is: the whey that comes from a freshly produced cheese is heated a second time thus giving rise to the ricotta.

Use and consumption

Cottage cheese is one of the most versatile foods found in the kitchen, and is used for creating savory or sweet dishes. In Sicily, in particular, it is the master in desserts now known in the world from cannoli to cassata, and much more.

One of the typical desserts of Ragusa are the “cassatelle”, very different from the classic Sicilian cassata. This is a simple and ricotta-based dessert, typical of the Easter period that looks like a basket, made of pasta filled with cream of tuma (curd) and ricotta flavored with cinnamon and chocolate drops. It is a very simple dessert to prepare and very delicate in flavor.

A dessert, famous above all in the Scicli area is the “Testa di Turco”, linked to the Feast of the Madonna delle Milizie. Looking at it, it looks like a large cream puff, but the recipe is slightly different. For the pasta, in fact, they don’t use butter but lard. The dough is then baked in the oven, giving it the shape of a real turban, and once cooked it is stuffed with ricotta (Iblea) and chocolate. It is also found in white chocolate and chocolate versions.

It can be used for the filling of savory ravioli, to compose tasty aperitif canapés, or simply eaten with a nice slice of fresh bread, to savor its goodness and genuineness.

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