Ricotta is an essential ingredient in many Italian dishes, but you often end up with leftover cheese that goes unused when you make small versions of a recipe, just for two. Blueberry ricotta muffins are a delicious way to use that leftover ricotta up. This recipe makes wonderfully moist muffins that have a good shelf life; they'll last two to three days before they begin to go stale and also freeze well. Blueberries are a summer treat, in season in July and August, depending on where you live. You also can use frozen blueberries -- use them straight out of the freezer, unthawed. This recipe is based on one published on the website Ciao Florentina.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (full-fat ricotta is best)
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 5 tablespoons milk (whole)
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup blueberries (fresh)
- Heat the oven to 375 F and spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with cooking oil.
- Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together the ricotta, oil, milk, egg and vanilla. Use a spatula stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Be careful not to over mix.
- Fold in the blueberries, then fill muffin cups three-quarters of the way full.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean.
- Cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the pan upside down and the muffins will slide out when you are ready to serve.
About Ricotta Cheese
Italian ricotta is made from the whey of cow, sheep or goat milk that is a result of the production of cheese. Ricotta is used in cheesecake, cookies, and cannoli. It serves as a basis for a simple dessert when strawberries, chocolate shavings, pistachios, sugar or cinnamon are stirred in. Several of these ingredients can also be combined with the ricotta for a creative dessert. Ricotta is also a basic ingredient in many recipes for lasagna, manicotti, pizza and various pasta dishes.
A cup of ricotta has 428 calories and 32 grams of fat, of which 20 grams are saturated. It adds rich goodness to recipes, but watching portions is a good idea. It's a good source of calcium, is its one saving nutritional grace.
Blueberries are on the superstar nutrition list. They are a good source of vitamin C and also antioxidants, which provide cardiovascular and cognitive benefits. Blueberries also help to maintain normal blood sugar levels, especially useful to those who have type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance. And all this comes in a delicious package that only has 85 calories per cup and 21 grams of carbohydrate with more than 3 grams of fiber.