Spinach and ricotta are both mainstays of Italian cooking, and many dishes that pair the two draw on that culinary tradition. These two ingredients can be combined and served with or in pasta. The combination also makes an excellent stuffing for savory meat dishes. Several pizza recipes use spinach and ricotta together. Other types of dishes also benefit from the mild, savory, and slightly sweet blending of these two ingredients.
A simple but versatile combination of spinach and ricotta involves mixing the two and adding spices as desired — most often Italian spices such as oregano and garlic. The resulting mixture is very versatile. It can be used as a filling for ravioli, cannelloni, or any other variety of pasta that needs a filling. If desired, it can be used as a topping or sauce for pasta, thanks to the softness of the ricotta cheese.
The fact that ricotta is such a soft cheese means that a mixture of spinach and ricotta is a good choice for use in stuffing cuts of meat. This adds flavor to the meat, especially to sometimes bland meats such as chicken. It also adds moisture to the interior of a cut of meat, which can prevent excessive drying during the cooking process.
Many lasagna recipes combine spinach and ricotta as well. Some mix them together, some add them in different layers. Vegetarian lasagnas are particularly likely to use this flavor combination, but dishes containing meat often make use of it as well.
Italian pizzas do not typically include the solid layer of cheese usually seen atop American pizzas. Common varieties feature a thin and flavorful crust with some cheese, vegetables, and other toppings scattered on the pizza. Spinach and ricotta blend nicely on this sort of pizza dish.
Not all applications that combine ricotta and spinach are based on strictly Italian recipes. A pie that is very similar to a quiche can be made when cooking with spinach and ricotta. The spinach is common to both dishes. The ricotta cheese is very soft and mild and fills the same role in this dish that the egg mixture does in a quiche. A hybrid dish that adds ricotta a cheese to a quiche recipe is certainly possible as well, as egg, spinach, and ricotta blend nicely.
Ricotta can be used together with spinach in any situation where a soft, rich, and mild ingredient might be called for. Many omelets combine spinach and cream cheese, for example. A very similar omelet could be made by using ricotta cheese in place of the cream cheese.