I hope you're not tiring of my fresh ricotta postings, because I'm sure not. I've been having a great time in my kitchen making ricotta about every 4 or 5 days. I veered at the last minute from mixing some fresh ricotta with a bit of honey and orange zest and topping with blueberries, to baking this Fresh Ricotta served with a Tomato Herb Salsa instead. Now that my garden tomatoes are finally ripening on their vines, I'm incorporating them into every meal! This baked ricotta makes a really great appetizer for summer al fresco entertaining.
The recipe I use for making my ricotta (get it HERE) gives me about one finished pound of fresh ricotta. You will need slightly more than that for this recipe, so if making your own, make two batches -- it's easy enough!
I ran out of time to grill my own crostini, so I used purchased brioche toasts that were topped with the ricotta and salsa. I served them alongside a pasta filled with roasted eggplant, sweet onions, and grilled chicken and finished the pasta off on a suggestion from Stacey Snacks. I tossed the pasta with butter, a splash of really good balsamic, and a few tablespoons of capers. Yes Stacy, you were right -- very delicious! The ricotta-tomato salsa toasts and eggplant pasta were a really nice combination. Leftovers today -- YAY!
+ Baked Fresh Ricotta with a Tomato Herb Salsa +
• 1 pound, 5 ounces (2 1/3 cups) fresh ricotta cheese
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
• 1/4 cup Nicoise olives (or possibly more!), pitted and roughly chopped
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 egg
• 2 ripe tomatoes, or comparable amount of cherry tomatoes
• 1/2 red onion, finely diced
• 6 large basil leaves, thin julienne
• small handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
• 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• bruschetta, crostini, or purchased brioche toasts, for serving
1. PREHEAT OVEN to 350˚F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, thyme, olives, Parmesan, and egg. Place an 8-inch springform pan on the sheet pan (I used an 8-inch baking ring) and spoon the mixture into the pan or ring, Smooth out the top.
3. Bake the ricotta for 35 to 40 minutes, or until firm and lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
4. MAKE the SALSA... Slice the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds. Finely chop the tomatoes and mix in a bowl with the onion, basil, and parsley. Add the balsamic and olive oil. Stir together until combined.
5. Carefully unmold the ricotta and (carefully) transfer to a serving plate. Spoon the salsa over the top. Serve with toasts.
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