Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Baked Ricotta with Asparagus & Chives

Baked Ricotta with Asparagus & Chives
I love ricotta, no, wait, I adore ricotta.  Used to drive my Mom crazy when we'd have lasagna for dinner as I'd eat all the ricotta filling and leave the lasagna noodles piled on my plate. I thought the filling was the best part, and I still do.When I have time, I like to make ricotta, not with acids like lemon juice or vinegar, but with cheese making enzymes. Much sweeter and better. There's nearly always some sort of ricotta in my fridge. This week though, I have store-bought ricotta to use.

Well, I started messing around, and having homegrown asparagus, and LOTS of chives, I thought  a savory cheesecake would be the way to go. Firm enough to cut, but still creamy. These are perfect. The flavor of both the asparagus and chives, and the Romano, too, come through beautifully, but you can still also taste the creamy goodness of the ricotta.

These are really delicious, little individual ricotta cheesecakes. It's a nice lunch or dinner with a salad and a glass of wine. These little cheesecakes are vegetarian, and gluten free, and great when you have omnivores and vegetarians at the table. Nobody will complain.

Note: To drain ricotta, line a colander or sieve  with paper towels or paper coffee filters and dump in the ricotta. Let drain for an hour or so before starting the recipe. My friend John, when he was packing to move, gifted me with some really nice little 4" spring form pans, he wasn't going to use anymore. Thank you, John! You can use similar pans from here, they're just a bit bigger, or just bake them in ramekins and don't bother unmolding.

Baked Ricotta with Asparagus & Chives
Serves 4

2 large eggs
2  large egg yolks
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
Black pepper, fresh ground
3-4 T minced fresh chives
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

2 lb. whole milk ricotta, drained for at least 1 hour
1-1/2 cups  asparagus, blanched and sliced into 1/2" pieces, and 20 tips set aside

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray four 4" springform pans or ramekins with cooking oil spray. Set the prepared pans on a baking sheet.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs and yolks together, then whisk in the Romano cheese, the nutmeg, a few grinds of black pepper, the chives (more is better) and the garlic powder. When its well-blended, fold in the ricotta, and the cut asparagus.
Ready for the oven.
3. Divide the ricotta mixture evenly among the four pans, and press 5 asparagus tips in a circle on top of each pan. Bake for about 1 hour until browned and puffy, and a toothpick comes out clean.
Minutes away from....lunch!
4. Cool about 15 minutes in the pan, then run a thin knife blade around the sides and remove the springform rim.  If using ramekins, just serve in the dish. Serve warm.

No comments:

Post a Comment