As far as appetizers go, it is hard to find a simpler recipe that would deliver as much flavor! You can find all sorts of variations in cookbooks and in the blogosphere, including my own blog a couple of years ago, using a recipe from my friend Celia. Have hearty crackers or nice baguette toasts ready to dive in… my preference is to enjoy it still hot from the oven, but be very careful, the center of this baby will be like a cheesy lava.
BAKED RICOTTA WITH GOAT CHEESE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by many sources)
1 cup ricotta cheese, drained (full fat)
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon olive oil
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup room temperature goat cheese
pinch of crushed red pepper
pinch of kosher salt, more to taste
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Heat the olive oil on a small pan, add the rosemary leaves. When the leaves start to sizzle, turn the heat off, and close the pan. Let the oil infuse for 15 minutes. Remove any large pieces of rosemary from the oil, very small bits can be added to the dip.
Combine the ricotta, rosemary oil, and all other ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well, and transfer to an oven-proof dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbly. Serve right away with crackers or a nice baguette. It is also good at room temperature.
to print the recipe, click here
While typing this recipe, I realized that I tend to add lemon zest and juice to almost everything I make… Maybe I should have named the blog Lemony Kitchen. Truth is, just the thought of running out of lemons makes me very uncomfortable. I will often taste a sauce, a salad dressing, a steamed veggie, and tell myself there’s something missing. I reach for a lemon, and just a little bit of its juice does the trick. In this particular recipe, the zest adds a lot, the baked cheese ends up with a lighter “feel”.
Of course, you should go ahead and change this recipe to suit your taste. Tarragon or dill could be wonderful replacing rosemary. If you are not fond of goat cheese, it can be left out, or substituted with feta or even another type of creamy cheese. Maybe a Brie, if you don’t mind multiplying the calories and fat by a factor of 2. Maybe 3. Who’s counting? 😉
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