July 27, 2012


The Perfect Summer Side Dish

What’s not to love with a dish that includes juicy cherry tomatoes nestled in a bed of creamy baked ricotta cheese? I came upon this recipe many years ago in the magazine section of the Sunday New York Times. I remember being drawn in by the gorgeous photo and the utter simplicity of putting it together. I made it once or twice and then the recipe was tucked away in my huge folder of recipes where it probably still sits today.

After salivating over the recent feature on Ruth Rogers of the River Cafe in Bon Appetit I decided it was time to thumb through her cookbooks. There in the chapter named Tutti Ricotta (everything ricotta) was the sformato di ricotta from years past. With a quick trip to the store for creme fraiche and out to the garden for the cherry tomatoes, I was good to go.

Sformata di Ricotta

2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
10 ounces cherry tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 eggs
2 1/4 cups fresh ricotta
1 cup crème fraîche
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (no stems)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Add the tomatoes and garlic; drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Shake dish to coat tomatoes with cheese. Bake 15 minutes, until tomatoes are hot and start to split, shaking dish occasionally. Remove tomatoes from oven; cool in dish. Spoon tomatoes and their juices into a bowl; reserve the baking dish but do not wash it out.

When baking dish is cool enough to touch, grease bottom and sides with the remaining butter. Mix the eggs and ricotta in a food processor until smooth.Add the crème fraíche and half the thyme and process until mixed. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the ricotta mixture in the baking dish; scatter the tomatoes and their juices and remaining thyme on top. Sprinkle with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serves: 6-8

This is not what I would call a typical sformato which I’ve blogged about before. The author’s of Italian Easy-Recipes from London’s River Cafe-called their dish by this name and that’s fine with me.

5 thoughts on “The Perfect Summer Side Dish

  1. This is wonderful, I plan to make this one. Will let you know how it comes out. Yours is gorgeous.

  2. Beautiful sunny photos Janie. I love your recent posts of lovely summery cooking. This one looks super delicious and your tomatoes too!

  3. I had sformato last year in Italy and it was delicious. Nice to have your two recipes.

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