I recently discovered that some of my best dishes are the ones I create with leftover ingredients. With almost a full tub of ricotta leftover, I decided to prepare a dish that would utilize the ingredient. The result? Fried ricotta with spicy marinara! Since Superbowl Sunday is right around the corner, this dish was perfect for the Sunday festivities. Don't you love it when you can kill two birds with one stone?
Fried Ricotta with Spicy Marinara
- 14 ounces ricotta
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
- ⅓ cup parmesan grated
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup panko
- oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 garlic cloves grated
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes or more if desired
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- Drain 14 ounces ricotta by putting it in a fine sieve mesh and letting it sit for 30 minutes. Mix the drained ricotta with 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, ⅓ cup grated parmesan, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper until well combined.
- Put ½ cup all-purpose flour into a shallow bowl. Crack 2 eggs in another shallow bowl and put 1 cup of panko into a third bowl. Roll the ricotta into 1 tablespoon size balls. Coat each portion in flour, dip in egg, then coat in panko. Repeat with the remaining ricotta. Place on a lined baking sheet and let chill at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Meanwhile, make the spicy marinara. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepot over medium heat. Add 2 cloves garlic and ½ teaspoon red chili flakes, adding more chili flakes if desired. Saute for 30 seconds then add 1 cup marinara sauce. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.
- Preheat frying oil to 375 degrees F.
- Carefully drop the ricotta balls into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain the ricotta on a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess oil.
- Serve fried ricotta with warm spicy marinara dipping sauce.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Homemade ricotta is one of my favorite cheeses. I didn't have the time to make homemade ricotta this time but I can only imagine how delicious it would be fried...
The first step in making fried ricotta is to drain the cheese. If you buy a tub at the market and open the lid, you may find excess liquid sitting on the top. We want to drain as much of the liquid as we can to achieve a crispy exterior. Whole fat ricotta tends to have less liquid than the reduced-fat version (which is my way of saying, buy the whole fat).
Season the ricotta with a little bit of garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, and onion powder and shape them into uniform-sized balls. I used a mini ice cream scooper to make the job easier. Coat each ball with flour, dip in whisked eggs, and coat again in panko. At this point, you can either chill the ricotta to be fried the next day or chill for 30 minutes. Chilling the ricotta helps them keep their shape as they fry.
While the ricotta balls are chilling, make the spicy marinara dip, adding as much or as little red chili flakes as you like. I went the easy route and used jarred marinara sauce this time but perhaps when tomatoes are in season, I will make a fresh tomato sauce.
Preheat the frying oil to 375 degrees and fry until the ricotta balls are golden brown. Some of the cheese may seep out a little but most of it should stay intact.
I imagine that you can also use an air-fryer but I haven't personally tried it myself. If you have success using an air fryer, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Serve these bad babies hot with a warm side of spicy marinara. You can also fry the ricotta ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven until serving time.
If you're a fan of fried cheese, you'll like this fried ricotta. It's crispy, it's cheesy, it's delicious. Stop me if you can from eating the whole batch!
For more appetizer inspiration check out this kimchi fried rice arancini recipe!