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serve plain or with crusty bread

It’s been pretty hot here the last few days.  We have one of those climates in Canberra where November can have frosts or it could have day after day in the 30s.  A few years back it didn’t get over 25C (77F) until after Christmas.  Today it was 39C (102F).  Days like these I think vaguely about baking and then have to sit down for a while with a cold drink.   I have smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and try and avoid thinking about dinner until it starts cooling around dusk.

butter and line tin

Today we were heading over to a friend’s place in the early evening for dinner, and I wanted to take something that didn’t have to be eaten hot, and didn’t need to use the oven, but could help to feed quite a few people.  Now I can see why you might think baked ricotta doesn’t quite fit this plan, with the whole baking thing; but while I would normally cook this in the oven, I cooked this one one with the convection setting in the microwave, which worked beautifully.

process herbs, cream and ricotta

Baked ricotta is a really simple and flexible dish, that can easily be varied: change the herbs, add sun-dried or roasted tomatoes, or artichokes, top with a layer of asparagus and some extra parmesan, anything that would go with ricotta really…This combination came from Sue, a friend of my mother’s.

spread into pan

It’s lovely served both warm or at room temperature, but isn’t quite as nice cold, so if you want to make in advance, if possible I suggest making up to the stage where you spread in the tin, then refrigerate, and bake shortly before serving – adding an extra five minutes to the baking time if the mixture is chilled.  I served with crusty bread, but it would also be lovely as part of an antipasto platter, or as a vegetarian main, with a range of salads.

cool slightly in pan

Baked Herbed Ricotta

  • 500g ricotta
  • 150g grated parmesan
  • 1 c basil
  • ½ c mint
  • ½ c flat-leaf parsley
  • 100ml cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 pitted kalamata olives

Preheat oven to 190C fan-forced (210C normal setting), or turn microwave convection setting to 190C. Line the base with baking paper, and butter a 22-24cm (9-10”) springform pan. Sprinkle base and sides with 2-3 Tbsp of the parmesan.

Pull basil, mint, parsley leaves off the stalks, and put with cream and ricotta in a food processor.   Process until smooth, scraping the sides if needed. Add eggs, one at a time, pulsing briefly after each one. Add remaining parmesan, and season with salt and pepper, pulsing briefly to combine. Stir through sliced olives and spoon mixture into prepared tin, spreading evenly.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brown on the edges but still light coloured and soft in the centre. Allow to cool for about 20min before removing from the tin.  Serve warm or at room temperature.