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Herbed Ricotta Crostini Recipe

herb-ricotta-crostini-recipe
Herbed-Ricotta-Crostini-Recipe

Herbed Ricotta Crostini Recipe

Ricotta cheese doesn’t have to be reserved for pasta dishes and casseroles. In this simple starter, it takes center stage as a creamy spread for crostini. Whole-milk ricotta delivered the clean, milky, rich flavor we were after, but the texture was a bit too watery. To remove some of the excess moisture, we put the ricotta in a coffee filter-lined strainer and let it sit for an hour. (If you don’t have coffee filters, you can use a triple layer of paper towels to drain the ricotta.) A little olive oil stirred into the drained ricotta added more richness and a luxurious texture, while basil, gar­lic, and lemon contributed bright, fresh flavors. To serve our herbed ricotta, we drizzled a bit more olive oil on top for extra richness and paired it with crisped baguette slices. We like to use baguettes for the crostini because their narrow shape makes toasts that are the perfect size.

Line fine-mesh strainer with triple layer of coffee filters and set strainer over bowl. Spoon ricotta into strainer, cover, and let drain for 1 hour.

Chop 1/3 cup basil and mince garlic. Grate 1 teaspoon zest from lemon, then squeeze juice into small bowl. Combine ricotta, basil, garlic, lemon zest, 1½ teaspoons lemon juice, oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and¼ teaspoon pepper in bowl; refrigerate until needed.

Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Slice baguettes on bias 113 inch thick and place pieces on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Broil bread, 1 sheet at a time, until bread is golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.

Season ricotta with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with extra oil as desired. Serve with crostini.

HOW TO DRAIN RICOTTA
Line fine-mesh strainer with triple layer of coffee filters and set strainer over bowl. Spoon ricotta into strainer, cover, and let drain for 1 hour.

RICOTTA CHEESE
As any Italian grandmother knows, the importance of good ricotta cannot be overstated. It’s the key ingredient in dishes such as lasagna, stuffed pastas, cannoli, and cheesecake. Good ricotta should be both creamy and dense, with a fresh dairy flavor. To find one that fit the bill, we tasted four ricottas both plain and in baked manicotti. In the end, we found our favorite in Belgioioso Ricotta con Latte Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese. This ricotta had a light sweet­ness and a rich, dense consistency that tasters described as “luscious.”

TO MAKE AHEAD
Ricotta can be left to drain, in refrigera­tor, for up to 24 hours. Flavored ricotta can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours. Toasted bread can be stored for up to 24 hours.

SERVES 8 TO 10
2 cups (1 pound) whole-milk ricotta cheese
Fresh basil
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 (12-inch) baguettes

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