Ricotta and cottage cheese are both fresh cheeses and look a great deal alike. They are both moist and white and commonly confused. However, they have some distinct differences in manufacturing and taste.
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Cottage cheese is curd-like and moist in texture. Sweet curd cottage cheese, the most common variety, is bland in flavor because the curds are washed to remove the acidity. Cottage cheese is made from pasteurized skimmed, partly skimmed or whole cow's milk.
The word "ricotta" means "cooked twice." Italian ricotta is made from whey drained off during production of mozzarella and provolone cheese. It has a mildly sweet flavor and a firm, crumbly, moist texture.
Ricotta cheese is often used in Italian cooking. In recipes, it combines well with many ingredients, such as almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, tomatoes and spinach. Cottage cheese is often sold with pineapple or chives already added as flavoring.