It's a funny thing, what a little love and kitchen care can do to food. Let us consider ricotta, one of the most simple of all cheeses. Served alone and fresh it is undeniably delicious. I have used it in all manner of dishes; gnocchi, lasagna, ravioli, and desserts, such as canoli and cheesecake, even for breakfast, sweetened with bananas, honey and the morning paper.

Then all of a sudden comes along baked ricotta. This stuff is delicious served on an antipasto platter, or as an entree with crisp flatbread and grilled prawns

Take a minute to consider cooking this wonderfully versatile cheese, as baked ricotta. You may well have a delicatessen that is willing to sell it to you for big Dollars, Pounds or Shekels. Stuff them. I will wager that our way is much better, and you will get the icky warm feeling of making the thing yourself. By the way, it is extremely simple. Embarrassingly simple. Get to it.

Ingredients

  • 500 gm (1 lb) fresh ricotta cheese, drained*
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh herbs, try basil, parsley or oregano
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Method

    Place all the ingredients except the oil into a food processor and whizz until well combined. With the motor still running, add the oil in a steady stream, season well, as ricotta is low in salt.

    Grease a baking dish and pour in the ricotta mixture. Place in a pre heated 180 °C (350 °F) oven for 30 minutes. You will know it is ready when the top is golden brown and it feels firm to the touch. Cool, turn out onto a plate and serve forth with pride.

    *To drain ricotta, which you need to do for most ricotta recipes, place in a sieve or colander and stand over a bowl. Leave in the refrigerator overnight and you have drained ricotta. Less water, cooks better.

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