Peas with Baked Ricotta and Breadcrumbs
This makes a lovely light supper. You may also serve it tossed with cooked pasta shells. With its light sparkle and clean finish, a lambrusco wine makes a lovely accompaniment.
1 cup high-quality full-fat ricotta cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
4 teaspoons butter
2 large shallots or 1/2 small onion, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
5 small sage leaves, minced
1 cup freshly shucked sweet peas (or 1 cup frozen baby peas)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Parmesan cheese, for grating
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a small baking dish.
If your ricotta is wet and milky, drain it in a colander, pressing out the excess liquid. Pack the ricotta into the dish, drizzle a little olive oil over the surface, and bake 20 minutes or until the cheese has begun to set and brown. Cover the surface with the breadcrumbs and bake until the crumbs are browned and crisp, another 10 minutes. (The amount of time it takes for the ricotta to set can vary tremendously depending on its moisture level.)
When the cheese is finished baking, heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When the butter foams, add the shallots and sage and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the peas, 1/2 cup water, and the lemon zest. Simmer until the peas are bright green and tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and a little freshly ground pepper.
Divide the ricotta between 2 plates. Spoon the peas over the cheese. Grate Parmesan over all and enjoy while warm. Makes 2 servings.
Source: Adapted from “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison (Ten Speed Press, $40).
Per serving: 385 calories (56 percent from fat), 24.2 g fat (15.2 g saturated, 6.5 g monounsaturated), 83.5 mg cholesterol, 19 g protein, 23.4 g carbohydrate, 4.7 g fiber, 280 mg sodium.