A simple baked ricotta cheese with roasted red pepper sauce. Perfect for entertaining!
FOR THE RED PEPPER SAUCE:
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. chopped shallot
- 2 clove garlic, chopped and divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1.5 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 loaf Easy Crusty French Bread or sourdough bread, sliced
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)
ROASTED RED PEPPER SAUCE:
- Roast the bell pepper at 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until skin is wrinkled and charred.
- Remove pepper from the oven and let sit until it’s cool enough to handle, 10-20 minutes (I like to put it in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid – the steam will help the pepper peel easier).
- When cool, peel the pepper and remove any seeds.
- Chop roasted pepper and set aside.
- In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add shallot and garlic to oil and sauté 1-2 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 your red pepper sauce over the ricotta. Bake at 400 F for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is heated through.
- While the ricotta bakes, prepare the crostini.
- Lay bread slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Use a pastry brush to brush each piece with a bit of olive oil.
- Bake crostini at 400 degrees F until lightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes (if you time this right, your ricotta and crostini should be done at just about the same time).
- Top baked ricotta with fresh chopped parsley for garnish. Serve immediately with crostini.
MAKE IT IN ADVANCE: You can make the roasted red pepper sauce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake the ricotta. You can even assemble the ricotta + sauce in a pan and keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
VARIATIONS: This is also great with goat cheese in place of the ricotta.
SERVING SIZES: This makes 1-2 crostini per person with a generous slather of cheese, but if you’re feeding a crowd, I’d double or triple the recipe. It’s very forgiving and easy to scale if you have a lot of people to feed!