A weekend at friends holiday house…lots of cooking, eating and relaxing. I made this baked ricotta with roasted cherry tomatoes for a quick entree. We ate it with olive bread which was a lovely combination. Making baked ricotta is so dead-easy that I wonder why people buy that unappetising looking baked ricotta from delis. It always looks hard, dry and totally lacking in flavour to me…but I must admit that I have not tried it for many years and I have no lasting impression from when I did try it. Once you make this yourself, you will never buy it again…trust me! All you need is some fresh ricotta, sour cream, eggs, parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. When you take it out of the oven all puffed up like a souffle, golden brown and smelling delicious, you will feel like a super star (or should that be master chef?!)
Since I made this at the holiday house, I did it in a pretty rustic, unplanned way. No actual measurements, just a rough guide. The quantities really depend on the size of dish you have to bake this in. When I am at home I use a Spanish terracotta shallow oval dish (which I used to think was a totally useless, ugly dish and never used much at all until I started doing baked ricotta in it! Now it has charmed its way into my cooking heart. Very odd really.) The key is to have a shallow dish. So if you are going to use the recipe below, think about the proportions of ingredients rather than the absolutes. To be quite honest, I am making up the quantities here as I have no recollection of what I actually used that day. This is what I would do if I was about to make some now….so hopefully it will work!
1 cup fresh ricotta
1/2 cup sour cream (feel free to use low fat here – I usually do)
3 or 4 eggs (I know, a bit vague, but either should be fine! 4 will give you a lighter and richer end result)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
finely chopped fresh herbs such as thyme (my favourite), sage, rosemary
Lightly butter your baking dish and dust with some additional grated parmesan cheese. This helps it rise like a bit of a souffle. Mix the rest of the ingredients together. Just a quick mix is fine, no need to go crazy with beating it. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into the dish and bake in a moderately hot oven for about 30-40 minutes. When the top is really lovely and golden brown and it has risen quite a lot, you will know it is done.
I sometimes carefully place the roasted cherry tomatoes into the ricotta mixture after pouring it into the baking dish, before baking, which is also pretty nice. Or you could lightly lay some herbs such as sage leaves on top for decoration.
The cherry tomatoes just get a bit of olive oil poured over, a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a few springs of herbs thrown on them. Bake in a low to moderate oven for at least 30 minutes, or up to 90 minutes in a low oven if you have time.