Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ricotta Sformata

The Dairymaids don’t always have fresh Ricotta in stock. If you are a soft cheese lover, this is a must try! Bellwether’s ricotta, both sheep and cow’s milk, is delicately made in Italian baskets.  Trust me when I say, you can taste the love.

With this beautiful cheese, I wanted to recreate the ricotta sformato. Traditionally, it is molded in a ring and is commonplace in Florence. This version is airy, decadent and very appropriately cheesy! It’s a warm, gentle mass of simplicity.

2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 oz SarVecchio, grated
1 egg
5 oz cherry tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut in thirds   
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (no stems)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

* Serves 6

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon butter. Add whole cherry tomatoes, garlic and asparagus; top with about 1 tablespoon of SarVecchio, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of thyme. Bake 15 minutes, until tomatoes are hot and split open. Remove vegetables from oven and allow to cool.

Keep oven at 400. You can use a casserole or pie dish. If you’re serving them turned out, use a muffin pan (yields 6). Grease the sides and bottom of your baking dish with remaining butter. Mix the ricotta, 1/2 cup grated SarVecchio, egg, 1 tablespoon olive oil, remaining thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper with a hand mixer until smooth. If using a muffin pan, add one layer of the vegetables to the bottom of each, then top with ricotta filling. If using a baking dish, spread the ricotta filling in the dish, then arrange the vegetables on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with a simple arugula salad or alone for an appetizer or savory dessert.  

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