Ricotta. A cheese made with cow's milk whey, the residue from the cheese-making processes of other cheeses, skimmed and drained. It should be a firm, soft, not solid, basin-shaped cheese. It is versatile and is used as a dessert cheese for making cheesecakes or served with sugar and fruit, or is used in ravioli or pastries. In North America this is made with added semi-skimmed milk rather than whey, which changes the consistency and texture considerably so that it is more like cottage cheese.