A dish that takes this humble cheese to new heights. With its velvety texture and versatility, ricotta becomes the star of the show in this simple yet impressive recipe. Baking transforms the ricotta into a luscious and slightly golden creation. It intensifies the flavours and creates a contrast between the soft interior and the slightly crisp exterior.
Whether enjoyed as a savoury appetizer or a sweet dessert, Baked Ricotta offers a canvas for creativity, inviting you to experiment with a variety of toppings and seasonings.
In this recipe we use lemon zest, honey, crushed pistachios, and the additional touch of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. The combination of sweet, tangy, and savoury elements adds depth and complexity to the dish.
INGREDIENTS FOR THIS RUSTIC BAKED RICOTTA
- Ricotta – This creamy and smooth cheese is the star of the dish. Ricotta is known for its velvety texture and mild flavour. It becomes luscious and golden when baked, intensifying its creaminess.
- Eggs – Eggs add richness and act as a binding agent in the recipe.
- Parmesan Cheese – Grated Parmesan cheese brings a savoury and nutty flavour to the dish.
- Lemon Zest – The zest of one lemon adds a burst of freshness and tanginess to the recipe, providing a vibrant and zesty contrast to the richness of the cheese.
- Honey – A natural sweetener, honey adds a touch of sweetness to balance the flavours in the dish. The honey creates a harmonious blend of sweet and savoury elements.
- Crushed Pistachios – These crunchy and flavourful nuts provide texture and nutty undertones to the baked ricotta. The crunchy nuts add a delightful contrast to the creamy interior.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – A good quality olive oil drizzled over the top brings richness and depth of flavour to the dish.
- Flaked Sea Salt – This type of salt, with its delicate and textured flakes, enhance the flavours and highlights the natural taste.
- Crushed Black Pepper – Ground black pepper provides a subtle hint warmth to the baked ricotta.
- Focaccia Bread – Lastly, serving Focaccia bread with the rustic baked ricotta is not just an optional addition, but a cultural necessity. It is perfect for soaking up the gooey, cheesy goodness.
HOW TO MAKE THE BAKED RICOTTA
This baked ricotta is super easy to make. Just add the ricotta cheese and eggs in a bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. Add most of the grated Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Give it a good mix until everything is nicely combined. Pour the mixture into a lined loaf tin. Smooth and sprinkle the remaining grated Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for about 35 minutes until it turns golden brown and sets. Let it cool for a few minutes. Drizzle honey all over the top, sprinkle crushed pistachios on top, and give it a generous drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle flaked sea salt and crushed black pepper over the top for added flavor.
Be creative and add this to your next charcuterie board, topped with anything from sweet to savoury.
CONVENIENT KITCHEN TIPS AND IDEAS:
Baked ricotta slices are incredibly versatile, so feel free to experiment and adapt these ideas to suit your taste preferences and the occasion at hand:
- Antipasto Platter/Charcuterie Board: Baked ricotta slices make a fantastic addition to an antipasto platter. Arrange the slices on a platter alongside cured meats, olives, marinated vegetables, and crusty bread.
- Crostini Topping: Toasted crostini topped with baked ricotta slices offer a delightful appetiser or snack option. Spread a generous dollop of ricotta onto each crostini and garnish with your choice of toppings. You can add a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of herbs such as fresh basil or thyme, a squeeze of lemon juice, or a few sun-dried tomatoes for a burst of flavour. The possibilities are endless!
- Salad Component: Add baked ricotta slices to your favourite salads for a creamy and protein-rich addition. Cut the slices into bite-sized pieces and gently toss them into a fresh green salad or a roasted vegetable medley. The ricotta slices will bring a luxurious creaminess to the salad while adding a touch of richness and substance.
- Standalone Delight: Baked ricotta slices can be enjoyed as a meal on their own. Serve them as the centerpiece of a vegetarian plate, accompanied by roasted vegetables, grilled asparagus, or a medley of sautéed mushrooms. The creamy ricotta, paired with complementary flavours, creates a satisfying and wholesome meal option.
- Bruschetta Variation: Instead of using traditional toppings, such as tomatoes or cheese, spread baked ricotta slices onto toasted baguette slices for a unique twist on bruschetta. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction, sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper, and garnish with microgreens or fresh herbs.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes, you can use any type of ricotta cheese available, whether it’s whole milk, part-skim, or low-fat. Just keep in mind that the texture and richness may vary slightly.
This specific recipe includes eggs and dairy ingredients, making it vegetarian but not vegan. However, there are vegan alternatives available, such as using vegan ricotta cheese made from plant-based ingredients and substituting the eggs with a vegan egg replacer.
Absolutely! You can easily adjust the quantities of the ingredients to make a smaller or larger portion based on your needs. Just keep in mind that the baking time may vary slightly.