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Make pasta alla Norma, homemade ricotta and a chickpea fritter sandwich

Anthony Contrino whips up silky homemade ricotta for a delicious pasta dish and Sicilian sandwiches.
/ Source: TODAY

Who doesn't love a creamy cheese? In this week's episode of TODAY All Day's "Saucy," Anthony Contrino is whipping up a batch of Italy's silkiest, cloud-like cheese: ricotta. His homemade version is far simpler than the traditional twice-cooked process. The result is a wonderfully light ricotta that can be used in your favorite sweet and savory dishes. The chef and food stylist then makes a classic panelle sandwich with crispy, melt-in-your-mouth fritters, followed by the Sicilian classic, pasta alla Norma.

Homemade Ricotta

In Italian, ricotta means "twice cooked" because this cheese is traditionally made using whey that is left over from the cheesemaking process. I don’t know about you, but I don’t normally have whey on hand, so this is how I make it at home. This recipe comes together in just 10 minutes (plus, an hour of inactive time), and it's easy and super tasty.

Panelle Sandwich

Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest. This modest sandwich pays homage to one of the best street foods you'll find in Sicily: crispy chickpea fritters. Often served between rustic country bread, this Brooklynized version of the panelle sandwich is slathered in a savory ricotta spread.

Pasta alla Norma

This simple, rustic Sicilian pasta dish is a family favorite. Sweet tomatoes, earthy eggplant and a little red pepper for spice make it perfect for any night of the week. Normally topped with ricotta salata, this version uses a whipped ricotta to balance out the tomato-based sauce with a creamier texture.