This amazing baked cheese dip is sure to be a hit! Velvety ricotta cheese with a flavor-packed roasted red pepper sauce. Vegetarian.
Do I really need to say anything else?
I guess I’ll tell you a little bit about this PARTICULAR cheese. Because this PARTICULAR cheese (ricotta, b-t-dubs) is topped with an insanely yummy roasted red pepper balsamic sauce (HEY-O) and then baked in the oven and then topped with some parsley and then slathered on some garlicky, buttery crostini and then shoved into one’s face with great abandon. You with me? Yes? Good.
This is a great appetizer option now that we’re all gearing up for the holidays (WAIT, WHERE DID 2014 GO?!) Make the red pepper sauce ahead and keep it in the fridge if you like, then assemble and serve the baked ricotta whenever it strikes your fancy. Pro tip: This is the perfect amount for a small dinner party (or, y’know, my lunch on a Tuesday), but double it if you’re feeding a crowd.
- 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.