Ricotta salata is ricotta cheese that has been pressed, salted (hence the salata) and dried. It's also incredibly cheap for the flavor it brings to a dish. It's got to be the cheapest cheese at Brooklyn Larder.
It's nothing like the ricotta we think of in cheesecakes and lasagna. Instead, it's a firm block of cheese that's easily grated. The Kitchn calls it cheese that can't stand alone, and I tend to agree with that description. It's a bit too salty to make it onto your cheese plate.
Get a bigger piece of ricotta salata than you need for this pasta dish and experiment with it. Grate it over your salad. Use it in place of feta in an omelet. Grate it over a delicious veggie burger. Try it with this raw kale salad and smile.
Ricotta salata is perfect in this pasta alla norma recipe. It contrasts with the heat of the red pepper flakes in the sauce, and the saltiness is a great contrast to the sweeter tomatoes.