Roasted Red Pepper Baked Ricotta
YIELD: Serves 4-6 a an appetizer
- 1 large red bell pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 Tbsp. chopped shallot
- 2 clove garlic, chopped and divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1.5 cups ricotta cheese
- ½ stick butter
- 1 loaf crusty french or sourdough bread, sliced
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
- First, roast the pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until skin is wrinkled and charred. Remove pepper from the oven, place in a small bowl, and immediately cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Let sit until it's cool enough to handle, about a half hour. Remove the stem, peel off the skin, and remove the seeds. Chop roasted pepper and set aside.
- In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add shallot and 1 clove chopped garlic to oil and sauté 2 minutes until shallot is translucent.
- Add chopped roasted red pepper, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook for 2 minutes until balsamic vinegar is fragrant and mixture has softened.
- Transfer red pepper mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add remaining olive oil and blend until smooth. Taste and re-season if necessary. Set aside.
- Spoon ricotta cheese into a small baking dish (I used a 4" cast iron skillet). You don't need to smooth it out unless you really want to - I like leaving it a bit uneven so that the finished dish looks more interesting!
- Pour red pepper sauce over ricotta. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is heated through.
- While the ricotta bakes, prepare the crostini. In a small saucepan (or in the microwave) melt butter with remaining garlic.
- Lay bread slices out on a baking sheet. Brush each piece of bread with butter and garlic mixture. Bake at 400 until lightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes.
- Top baked ricotta with fresh chopped parsley for garnish. Serve immediately with crostini.