Baked ricotta is a great dish to cook and because ricotta has a mild flavour, you can compliment it with any number of ingredients – savoury or sweet. Although it is not technically a cheese, it still behaves like one, which means you can serve it in its place or with other cheeses on a board.
There are many recipes for baked ricotta and there a lot of options you could use. Some recipes add egg in to the mix, but I find it gives a more solid, congealed result. You can leave the egg out which gives a more crumbly texture, but I believe it is more pleasant to eat.
This recipe is intended to serve with a glass of wine and crusty bread, so I have used ingredients that complement wine – such as pear and walnuts. You could also use orange and raisin, or lemon and thyme.
250g fresh soft ricotta
1 pear, pealed, cored and finely diced
50g crushed walnuts
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
extra honey and olive oil
Pre heat the oven to 160°C. Generously wipe a small baking dish (approx. 10x5cm) with oil.
Gently toss the diced pear in a pan over a medium heat. When the pear pieces begin to caramelise, turn the heat off but leave the pan on the stove. Add the walnuts, olive oil and the honey and gently toss the pear to coat each piece. The heat of the pan should be enough to coat each piece of pear without burning the honey or the walnuts.
In a mixing bowl, add the caramelised pear and walnuts to the ricotta and gently mix until it is well combined and smooth.
Spoon the ricotta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the ricotta is firm and beginning to caramelise.
Remove it from the oven and drizzle with an extra amount of honey and olive oil. Set it aside to cool. Serve at room temperature with crusty bread and wine. You can drizzle more olive oil across the top before serving if you prefer.