When entertaining,  I pay equal attention to the appetizers and the main course because appetizers are the first  “welcome” to the guests. That first impression that leaves its mark.  It’s nice to have a few options that are simple to prepare, and this one fits the bill quite well.  Ever since I saw Celia’s post about it, I wanted to try it.  Baked ricotta!  You can adapt it to your own taste, adding different herbs and spices.  The most important step is draining the ricotta before baking, so that it doesn’t go all watery in the oven.

(from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial)

1 container of full-fat ricotta cheese (8 – 10 oz)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
dried herbs of  your choice

Drain the ricotta for a few hours in the fridge in a colander lined with  cheesecloth. Meanwhile, infuse the olive oil with lemon zest, by heating it gently in a small pan over very low heat. When the oil starts to form small bubbles on the edges, turn the heat off and close the pan.  After 30 minutes pass the oil through a sieve to remove the zest.

Transfer the drained ricotta to a small bowl, season it lightly with salt and pepper.  Spread it on an oven-proof dish, drizzle a little of the infused oil on top (you won’t need the full amount!), sprinkle with dried herbs and bake in a 350 F for 30 minutes, until set. Serve warm or cold with your favorite cracker or toast.


to print the recipe, click here

If I had to pick one item that we always serve when entertaining it would be hummus.  We love it and never get tired of it.  I suspect that baked ricotta will be present next to it from now on.  A very nice combination, they look good together and their flavors don’t clash, quite the contrary.

Celia, thanks for constantly inspiring me!

ONE YEAR AGO: Sour Cream Sandwich Bread

TWO YEARS AGO: Pasta with Zucchini Strands and Shrimp

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