Herbed Ricotta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

The Recipes: First, a quick summer appetizer but ever so memorable! The roasted tomatoes warm the ricotta, leaving it extra-creamy and slightly garlicky. What an appetizer! Or, how about this? Just pour a glass of crisp, cold white wine and call it dinner!

Second, Easy Radish Spread, a crowd favorite, familiar ingredients in a surprising combination. Last, Pita Crisps, yes, make them easily at home too!

The Conversation: If “you’ve got milk” then “you’ve got ricotta”. Yes, it’s that easy to make ricotta at home.

Herbed Ricotta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, a quick summer appetizer, warm ricotta topped with roasted cherry tomatoes. Scrumptious!
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Got milk? We all recognize the slogan from the dairy industry’s ads featuring celebrities with milk-mustached upper lips.

But here’s a new version. “Got milk? Got ricotta.”

Yes, homemade fresh ricotta is as close as your refrigerator. It requires only a quart of milk and a lemon and is easy and inexpensive to make at home in just a few minutes.


HOMEMADE RICOTTA

Update: The recipe below is what I call "Skinny Ricotta". For more tips plus the recipe for an extraordinary "Creamy Ricotta" that uses buttermilk instead of lemon juice, check out my new recipe for How to Make Homemade Ricotta. Now here’s the recipe!

To make a cup of ricotta, heat a quart (4 cups) of whole or 2% milk in a large saucepan just to a gentle boil, stirring often at first and then continuously. Stir in the juice of a lemon (about two tablespoons; for lemon-scented ricotta, add the zest too). Over low heat, stir until small curds begin to form and the whey begins to separate. Turn off the heat and let rest for 15 minutes. Transfer to a colander lined with cheesecloth or paper towels, let drain for about 15 minutes, throw away the whey that collects underneath. Stir in about a teaspoon of kosher salt.

That's it, you've made ricotta! And this stuff is good! This is one of my richest appetizers but to my taste, is worth every single delicious calorie! Add a glass of crisp chilled white wine and call it “dinner”!


EASY RADISH SPREAD

In a food processor, whiz a half pound of trimmed red radishes, 3 green onions and 4 to 8 ounces of low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with pita crisps or fresh vegetables.


PITA CRISPS

Split mini pitas in half and arrange rough-side up on a baking sheet. Mist with olive oil or cooking spray, then sprinkle with favorite dried herbs or spice blends or a little good salt. Bake until just crisp at 350F. Where to find mini pitas? My favorite source is Trader Joe's.

HERBED RICOTTA with
ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES

An easy summer appetizer
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, preferably some red, some yellow
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf, torn in half
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta, either commercial or homemade, see recipe at left or How to Make Homemade Ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • Additional chopped herbs
  • Good bread for schmearing, sliced and toasted

Set oven to 325F. In a bowl, stir together tomatoes, oil, garlic, bay leaf and salt and pepper, until tomatoes are evenly coated with oil. (For a low-fat version, omit the tablespoon of oil but mist the tomatoes with olive oil.) Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and into the oven (there’s no need to wait for it to finish preheating). Stirring once or twice, roast the tomatoes for 45 minutes or until most of the tomatoes are just starting to pop but remain firm. Discard the bay leaf.

While the tomatoes roast, stir together the ricotta and herbs until smooth and mound on a serving dish. Let rest at room temperature while the tomatoes roast.

Top the ricotta with hot tomatoes, garlic and the roasting juices (don’t forget the roasting juices, they are lovely!) and garnish with additional fresh herbs. Serve with toasted bread slices. Serve while warm and enjoy!

ALANNA's TIPS The HERBED RICOTTA is an “appetizer to share” easily served from a common dish. But for an elegant presentation, make up individual small plates garnished with fresh herbs.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (not including bread): 159 Calories; 12g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 7g Carb; 1g Fiber; 52mg Sodium; 31mg Cholesterol. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 4, WW PointsPlus 4
First published in print in 2007, republished online in 2013.

Such Easy Summer Appetizers!

(recipes above)
Homemade Ricotta Easy Radish Spread (above) Herbed Ricotta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (above)
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. "Like" Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Love-Love-Love Summer Tomatoes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad Tomato Basil Quiche Shakshuka (Eggs Nested in Summer Vegetables)



Quick Links to This Page

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~ Easy Radish Spread ~
~ Pita Crisps ~





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I had no idea it was so easy to make! No more excuses for not having it on hand. Don't think I can do it with 'long-life' milk, though... but I can now, reliably, get fresh.
And the starter looks fantastic!

7/27/2007
 
That easy? Okay, I'll give it a shot.

7/27/2007
 
Now that is easy. I really love the sound of this recipe. Ummmm!

7/27/2007
 
Nothing could be fresher or better. Homemade ricotta is divine! This is such a simple and tasty starter - fabulous idea to set out as individual servings.

7/27/2007
 
Looks very flavorful Alanna! I didn't know ricotta was so simple to make.

7/27/2007
 
It looks really colorful, and I love food that's easy to make. I may never buy ricotta again.

7/27/2007
 
This looks delicious. Making your own cheese really appeals to a secret back to basics tendency within me that just has to learn how to make all those things that modern convenience makes us take for granted (bread, cheese etc).

Thanks for the recipe. May I ask how you calculate your Nutritional information? Do you do it manually or use a calculating service of some kind?

7/27/2007
 
Everywhere I turn these days I find wonderful homemade cheese staring me in the face. It's obviously a sign that I can no longer ignore, but the timing stinks. I've been bitten by the cheesemaking bug just when my milk supply has dried up because my milk supplier is going to have a calf! Sure, patience is a virtue, but this is gonna be a long couple of months. . . : )

7/28/2007
 
Katie ~ No need to give up milk, just get an extra quart! or litre!

Christine ~ Yep! Do!

Meeta ~ And gorgeous color too, yes?

Tanna ~ Yay, another fan!

Bruno ~ Now you do!

Kelly ~ I really love food with vibrant color, especially in summer.

Skinny ~ I have those tendencies too but before you buy a cow for the back garden, try something easy like ricotta! :-) As for nutrition calculations, I use an inexpensive product called Accuchef whose underlying data is the USDA nutrition database but it's also pretty simple to add your own items, which I do quite often.

FarmGirl ~ Aha! Someone with a cow in the back garden, errr, back forty. This'll wait ...
 
It sounds simple and looks delicious. My tomatoes are coming in right now, so I definitely want to try it this week. Yum!

Thanks for the great foodblogging panel at BlogHer!
 
What a fantastic new look! And the recipe looks wonderful too!!
 
Alanna,
I made ricotta out of the whey from mozzarella making (and boy is there STILL a lot of whey left over after that), but since I picked up buttermilk for 50 cents a half gallon this morning I think I'll give that recipe a try. I've got cherry tomates from the farm share and this sounds like a great dinner for me.
Thanks!
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna