I just happened to have a huge (2-pound container) of ricotta cheese in the fridge that was 3/4 full and needed to be used. Ricotta doesn't have a long shelf life once it's opened and unless I am making lasagna or something like that, I'm always looking for ways to use up what's left. I had recently stumbled upon a recipe for Panna Cotta made using ricotta cheese and cream (instead of using all cream like more traditional versions). This version also used a bit of unflavored gelatin to help it set instead of eggs and it required no cooking other than the few minutes it takes to heat it up on the stove to dissolve the gelatin. This also means it will make a perfect summertime dessert because you don't need to turn your oven on and the berries, which go nicely with it, are plentiful in the summer as well. I served mine in mini trifle bowls topped with fresh Strawberry Chia Jam that I made by simply mashing ripe freshly picked strawberries (given to us by one of our kind and generous neighbors over the weekend) with chia seeds and a bit of stevia (it was delicious and so fresh)!
This panna cotta recipe is SO astoundingly delicious...as in, I didn't expect it to be so good for something so easy and with such few ingredients. It's like a cross between a thick and rich custard, a cheesecake...and it has the familiar flavor of my favorite tapioca pudding (minus the tapioca)! To keep the carbs down, I used unsweetened cashew milk in place of the cream (which only add 1.5 grams of carbs to the entire recipe). I used Swerve confectioners style sweetener to sweeten it and fine tuned the sweetness with stevia.
This easy dessert recipe met my 3 basic criteria that I try to stick to most of the time (with a 4th bonus criteria added as well):
#1 Is it low carb? Check!
#2 Does it taste good? Check!
#3 Is it simple enough that people will actually make it? Check!
#4 Will it help me use up this ginormous container of ricotta? Ding Ding Ding!
This dessert is definitely worthy of trying. Depending on what kind of ricotta you use, each serving has 2 grams of carbs and 2 grams of sugar. It's simplicity and taste might make this one of your absolute favorites. It's definitely become one of mine! I will never ever worry about what to do with my leftover ricotta again...as a matter of fact I will be buying it just to make this delicious Panna Cotta Ricotta! Enjoy!
Panna Cotta Ricotta
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin (or 2-1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cashew milk (or half-and-half), divided
1/2 cup confectioners style Swerve sweetener (or powdered sweetener)
1 tablespoon NuStevia simple syrup (or liquid stevia, to taste, added after blending)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup Strawberry Chia Jam, pureed fresh or frozen berries, or fresh fruit
In a medium saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup of the milk; let sit about 5 minutes until softened. Add remaining 1 cup of milk, powdered sweetener, stevia, and vanilla. Heat until hot and gelatin is dissolved, stirring frequently (careful not to boil).
Place ricotta and gelatin mixture in a blender or food processor and blend until pureed and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Divide and pour mixture equally among 8 custard cups or dessert cups. Refrigerate and chill until set, about 3 hours. Top with jam or pureed berries before serving, if desired.
*Note: If desired, the additional stevia can be added at the end during the blending process to allow you to adjust sweetness to your taste after ricotta has been added.