For golden baked ricotta, all you have to do is press fresh, salted ricotta into a form, let it drain for 24 to 36 hours until dense, and then bake with garden herbs, black pepper, and olive oil. The caramelizing of the ricotta in the oven results in a heavenly, custard-like savory cheesecake. Pair with sauteed spring vegetables and garlic for a satiating entrée or side dish.
For a large, cheese-centric dinner spread, we recommend pairing this dish with our Roast Chicken and Halloumi, Lentils, and Spinach Salad.
We recommend pairing this dish with a Riesling or a fruity, refreshing Pinot Grigio.
- 1 pound fresh whole milk ricotta cheese (try our homemade recipe)
- Fresh bay leaves or rosemary, enough to cover the bottom of a small baking dish
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil, enough to oil a small baking dish and coat the cheese
- Mesh strainer or ricotta basket
- Shallow baking dish slightly larger than the diameter of the mesh strainer or ricotta basket
- Taste the ricotta, add a little salt if needed. Strain the ricotta in a mesh strainer or ricotta basket in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours. The strainer is going to mold the cheese so use one that will give the depth of the strained cheese about 1.5-2 inches. A firm, dry ricotta is desired.
- Pre-heat over to 350° F. Liberally oil the bottom and sides of a shallow baking dish. Line the baking dish with either the fresh bay leaves or rosemary. Unmold the ricotta into the baking dish. Oil the cheese and sprinkle the top generously with coarse salt and pepper.
- Bake for 1-1.5 hours until very nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack. Unmold after cooling.
- Serve with sauteed peas, fiddlehead ferns, ramps, and garlic for an extra special spring dinner entrée or side dish.