My adoration with ricotta deepens every day and I love using it in both sweet and savoury recipes. The fresh neutral taste lends itself to so many different flavour applications and its a joy to play with. I love to eat at breakfast with honey drizzled over and sliced fresh fruit. Top a cake like bread with all of this and you are in heaven. Its wonderful to bake into things too, like this roasted pumpkin gratin. It puffs up into an almost soufflé like texture and is quite scrumptious.
I roast the pumpkin before to ensure its cooked through and the process adds wonderful flavour. The resultant texture in the gratin is quite soft, but it’s that sort of comfort I’m looking for. I added a breadcrumb and Parmesan topping to create some texture. A scattering of toasted pine nuts would be wonderful too.
In terms of adding flavour, you can do whatever you like. I went for parsley and thyme because they are great with pumpkin. A hint of lemon zest and a pinch of chilli too. You could add more Parmesan to the cream mix if you wanted to make it more cheesy, and if you are a carnivore and missing the meat, crispy bacon on top would be sublime here.
This makes a delicious main course for vegetarians, served with crusty bread and a salad or two. I’m planning on rolling it into a wrap with lettuce for my lunch today. Yum!
Recipe – serves 4- 6 as a side
- 550 – 600g pumpkin which has the skin and seeds removed
- 5 thyme leaves
- glug of olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 200g ricotta, drained
- 1 free-range egg
- 1/2 cup (125ml) cream
- 2t chopped parley
- 1t fresh thyme leaves (removed from stalk)
- pinch of dried chilli flakes (or more if you like heat)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan + 2 tablespoons
- 4T (1/4 cup) white bread crumbs
- zest of 1/4 lemon
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Cut the pumpkin into medium small (not very small) chunk. I like it fairly chunky but not too much so. Drizzle over the olive oi, season the salt and pepper, and scatter over the thyme leaves on the stalk. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, giving the pan a shake every now and again.
Remove from the oven and crumble the thyme leaves off the stalk, discarding the stalks. Empty into an appropriately sized gratin or baking dish. Dot 3/4 of the ricotta cheese in and around the roasted pumpkin pieces.
Beat the egg in a bowl and then add the cream and beat again. Add the parsley, thyme, lemon zest, chilli and salt and pepper. Mix in the remaining 1/4 of ricotta and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Mix. Pour this over the pumpkin and ricotta.
Mix the crumbs and the Parmesan and sprinkle this over the top. bake for about 25- 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately