Sun-dried tomato and Basil Baked Ricotta

Date nights are important. I talk to Tyler regularly, but it’s not the same as sitting down on a designated day, with some food that’s a little different than usual, maybe drinks that are a little different, maybe music that’s a little different, and letting conversation wander. Nine years in, and I cannot express the value of this day. It brings up issues that we may have brushed off earlier because we didn’t have time to deal with, it’s where our precious inside jokes come from, it’s a time to reminisce, or dream of the future. A time to talk politics, or not talk at all. It’s pretty perfect. Some weeks we can’t do it, or we explicitly decide we want to spend time with a friend, but we definitely reschedule it. It’s important. I will keep doing this during residency. I write it so definitively here mostly as a reminder to myself — as a promise. When I write something down, it’s harder to not do it.

I don’t like to spend a ton of time on date-night dinner. I used to make elaborate meals, and let’s be real I still do sometimes, but when work increases I really just want something tasty, fancy, and quick. This is one of those dishes.

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Baked Ricotta

This makes an easy appetizer or a quick, tasty dinner. Simple but flavored up with the sun-dried tomatoes going through it, and basil adding that touch of green it really needs.

Tips:
1. This is a dish that you want only one or two strong flavors in, otherwise the flavors will get muddled. So I was originally thinking about tossing kalamata olives in it, but I thought with the sun-dried tomatoes and the basil, the flavors would be too mashed up to be distinguishable — I think that’s a wise idea. Keep it simple for this one.

2. This works well on thin bread slices and dippable veggie for an appetizer. For dinner, I served this with radishes, mushrooms sauteed in butter, and simple sauteed peppers alongside thinly sliced bread, olives, and some fruit.

3. Want to keep it gluten free? Skip the breadcrumbs and broil it for that crunchy top. Or mix almond meal and salt together and sprinkle it on top like breadcrumbs.

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Baked Ricotta

  • Difficulty: easy
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-1 container full-fat ricotta (16oz for two people, 32oz for a dinner party)
-0.5 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
-0.5 cup fresh basil, chopped
-2-3 scallions chopped, white and green
-0.75 cup parmesan cheese, asiago, or good cheddar cheese
-Salt, pepper to taste (smoked seasalt works really well here)
-plain bread crumbs for topping

Preheat your oven to 425F. Pull out a 9×9 baking dish (for two people, bigger for a dinner party). In a bowl, mix the ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Transfer it into your baking dish and spread evenly. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. For a crunchier top, pop it in the broiler for 2-4 minutes. Serve with bread slices. Leftover stay good for 3-4 days in a closed container in the fridge.


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