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Adam Newell's baked ricotta recipe - 18 September

Baked Ricotta Cheese and Portobello Mushrooms with Fennel and Cherry Tomato Compote

Serves four

I love baked ricotta. In fact, I love everything about it - baked, mixed into pasta at the last minute, fresh with Parma ham and figs. I could go on, but today we are baking it.

This is a real favourite at Zibibbo, especially as part of out tapas platter. Ricotta cheese is available everywhere nowadays so you should have no problem sourcing a good one.

The cheese is best cooked then allowed to cool slightly before serving and the compote is best served warm, not hot. Enjoy!

For the baked ricotta
240g of ricotta cheese
2 large portobello mushrooms
1 finely chopped red onion
1/2 clove finely chopped garlic
50g grated parmesan
25g of butter
1 whole egg
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Lightly saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil season with salt and pepper
2. Finely chop the mushrooms and fold into the ricotta cheese until well mixed in, add the cook onions, garlic and the egg and mix in well. Check if it needs seasoning.
3. Butter four medium sized ramekins with the butter then add the Parmesan and roll around the ramekin until all the cheese has coated the butter.
4. Fill the moulds with the Ricotta mixture and cover each mould with buttered tin foil and place in a deep tray in a 140c oven. Pour in hot water and baked for 20 minutes or until the ricotta is firm. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

For the compote
1 large fennel bulb
1 punnet of ripe cherry tomatoes
1 large red onion
1 clove of finely chopped garlic
2 cups of white wine
1 tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup of olive oil.
2 tablespoons of chopped Italian parsley
Pinch of smoked paprika
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1. Cut the fennel bulb in half and remove the centre core, cut into thick strips. Cut the red onion in half and remove the core and cut into thick strips.
2. Saute the fennel, red onions and garlic on a gentle heat until soft this could take around 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice, sugar, lemon zest and wine and reduce until sticky
3. Remove from the pan and add a little more olive oil and get the pan moderately hot then add the whole tomatoes, they will wilt very quickly so keep and eye on them when the are starting to soften add a pinch of paprika and cook for 1 more minute.
4 Add to the fennel mixture and add the parsley and mix gently.

To serve
Gently remove the baked ricotta from the moulds and place in the centre of your plate. Arrange the compote around the outside of the cheese and garnish with some fresh parsley leaves. This dish needs some nice bread maybe a crunchy grilled Turkish loaf cut into thick slices.