There are a few things that are always, always bad ideas:
- Going to the DMV without an appointment.
- Forgetting your grandmother’s birthday.
- Barking at people out of pure hanger (anger meets hunger).
To avoid the latter from happening, I always recommend having an Thanksgiving appetizer on deck. This recipe can be made ahead so you can just pop it in the oven (with the turkey if need be) to warm it throughout and melt the cheese on top.
The trick to this dish is adding a bit of the ricotta, along with a bit of whey or water, to the food processor to make it super creamy. The remaining ricotta is mixed with the whipped ricotta creating a perfect, not-too-creamy texture. It’s spiked with a good amount of lemon zest, crushed red pepper, Parmesan-Reggiano for good measure. I recommend scooping it onto warm slices of bread or simple crackers. I say this is good enough for about 6 people. People will want more. They may say it’s not enough, but that’s ok…because the real meal is to come.
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 10 ounces (about 1 cup) whole milk ricotta, divided
- 2 teaspoons reserved whey (from ricotta container) or water
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1/2 lemon, zested
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella
- Small crackers or slices of baguette, to serve
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. To a small sauté pan, set over medium heat, pour in the olive oil, add the shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Mix in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute, until fragrant. Turn off heat and set aside.
- To a food processor, add 1/3 cup ricotta, the whey or water and pulse 4 or 5 times, until very smooth. To a medium bowl, add the whipped ricotta, remaining ricotta, sautéed shallots and garlic, Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, lemon zest, salt, and crushed red pepper; fold everything together until thoroughly mixed. Taste and adjust salt according to your liking.
- Transfer to a small oven-safe bowl or dish. Top with mozzarella and transfer to oven to bake until warm and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Serve with warm bread and crackers.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Adrianna Adarme is a food blogger and author living in Los Angeles, California. She writes the blog A Cozy Kitchen, where she shares comforting, everyday recipes from her kitchen. She recently authored her first cookbook, PANCAKES: 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack. She’s a lover of breakfast, pie (and sometimes even pie for breakfast), corgis and cute things. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.