Ricotta cheese is kind of like a backup singer. It’s there in your lasagne to add texture and creaminess. It works together with mascarpone to fill crackling cannoli shells. But rarely does it get to take center stage. There’s a reason for this: it’s a great vessel for other flavors and it’s texture can be a bit…grainy or dry, sometimes, especially the store-bought stuff.
But whipping it does something magical. It turns ricotta into a superstar. It becomes creamy, luscious and decadent without getting too heavy. A pinch of salt gives it a number 1 record. If you spread it on crostini and add a few finishing touches, it’s suddenly gone platinum.
My absolute favorite way to top whipped ricotta crostini is with a drizzle of ridiculously good extra virgin olive oil, a few flakes of Maldon and a crack of black pepper. And a touch of lemon zest turns it into a real treat, but it’s not even necessary. I’m also more of a savory girl, so I like salty treats. If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, try drizzling a bit of honey over the crostini (then you can call it breakfast!) and topping with some flaky sea salt.
But those are just my personal favorites; the possibilities are endless! Rub the warm crostini with the cut end of a garlic clove, slather on the ricotta, then add a slice of ripe summer tomato and a sprinkle of chopped fresh basil. Or sauté some greens with olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes then heap them onto the ricotta. You could really get fancy and drizzle the ricotta crostini with a touch of truffle oil. Or if the sweet version sounded better to you, try spreading a thin layer of fig jam on the crostini first, then topping it with the ricotta.
- 1 baguette
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoon milk or cream (if using milk, use only 2% or higher fat content)
- pinch of salt
- high-quality extra virgin olive oil
- lemon zest (optional)
- freshly cracked pepper
- flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Slice the baguette thinly and spread on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 8 minutes or until lightly golden brown, flipping the crostini over halfway through.
- Use a stand mixer or a handheld mixer (with a whisk attachment, if you have one) to beat the ricotta and milk together until they form a smooth, light spread. Add salt to taste, but keep it slightly under-salted because you'll want to sprinkle the crostini with some flaky sea salt.
- Spread a generous amount on your crostini.
- Crack some fresh pepper onto the ricotta and sprinkle with a tiny bit of flaky sea salt. Zest some lemon over the crostini and drizzle with really fantastic olive oil.
- Drizzle a small amount of honey on the crostini. Sprinkle with a touch of flaky sea salt.
- Experiment with toppings! There are so many options: fig jam, caramelized onions, fresh basil, a slice of a beautiful tomato, etc., etc...