The texture of baked ricotta is lovely with baked eggs, especially if the yokes of the eggs are still soft. Although this dish can simply be eaten with a spoon, a toasted chunk of bread dripping in olive oil or butter is a better utensil and can be used to sop up every creamy bite.
If you're hesitating to use ricotta as the main ingredient in a dish, then it's likely you've never had truly fresh, high-quality ricotta. Ricotta should be fluffy, creamy and slightly sweet. It should not be totally bland, grainy and watery. Fresh Ricotta doesn't change a whole lot when baked, it just becomes a warmer, creamier version of itself.
Typically, the best fresh ricotta is not pre-packaged at grocery stores. Ideally, a cheese shop will hand-scoop ricotta into a container right when you buy it or have a few containers of fresh ricotta for sale that they have packed in the shop. You can also make a simple version of ricotta at home.
In addition to fresh ricotta, you might also see ricotta salata and ricotta infornata at the store. Ricotta infornata is firm enough to be cut into wedges and has a soft, crumbly texture. It has a thin brown rind from being baked in the oven. Although the texture is different, the flavor is very similar to fresh ricotta. Ricotta salata is fresh ricotta that has been salted and pressed into a wheel of cheese that is aged for several months. Ricotta salata is crumbly and has a mild, salty flavor.
The simplicity of this baked ricotta recipe is what makes it so perfect, but there's no harm in adding even more flavor. Some ideas to try:
- Add thin strips of prosciutto
- Garnish with bacon crumbles
- Use fresh basil instead of thyme
- Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs on top
- Add black olives
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 15 ounces fresh Ricotta
- 1/2 cup whole milk or cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried or 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup grated hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggaino, Pecorino, etc
Preheat oven to 450 F
Oil or butter an 8x8 square baking pan
Whisk ricotta with milk, salt and thyme until the texture is smooth.
Use a rubber spatula to scrap the ricotta evenly into the baking dish. Crack the eggs on top of the ricotta, spacing them evenly in the dish. Sprinkle the grated hard cheese on top.
Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until eggs are set but not completely firm. When you scoop the baked ricota into individual bowls it will be loose and little watery. This is fine - just serve with spoons or bread.
© recipe 2012 Jennifer Meier licensed to About.com, Inc.
More Ricotta Recipes
- Simple Baked Ricotta
- Ricotta and Polenta Rounds
- Ricotta Dumplings
- Ricotta and Pesto Lasagna
- Flatbread Pizza with Mint Pesto and Ricotta
- Flatbread Pizza with Kale and Ricotta
- Ricotta Pancakes
- Ricotta Blueberry Coffee Cake
- Strawberry Ricotta Polenta Tart
- Ricotta Chocolate Cake
- Baked Ricotta Pudding Cake
- Ricotta Fritters
- Ricotta Caramel Pie