Herb Ricotta with Toasted Macadamia Nuts & Toasted Crostini

This is a dish I often serve for company.  The smoothness of the ricotta pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the caramelized onions and sautéed grapes, and is a perfect accompaniment to the toasted crostini.  For a Thanksgiving variation – add 1/4 cup pumpkin puree to the ricotta mixture for a special treat and top with toasted pumpkin seeds (or your choice).  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:
Ricotta Mixture:
2 lbs. of Whole Milk Ricotta
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
1 Tsp. Black Pepper
2 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano or Italian Herbs (or replace with dried)


Macadamia Nuts:
1/3 Cup Macadamia Nuts


Grapes:
1 Large White Onion, diced
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil & 2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Large Cluster of Grapes
Rosemary Sprigs for Decoration


Crostini:
1 Loaf of Semolina Bread, Sliced ¼” Thick
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic Powder, Sea Salt


Variation (If Desired): 
Add ½ Cup Pesto to the Ricotta Mixture and top with Toasted Pistachios
Add ½ Cup Pumpkin Puree to the Ricotta Mixture and add Toasted Pumpkin Seeds or Macadamia Nuts

 

DIRECTIONS:
Ricotta Mixture:

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, sea salt, black pepper and herbs (save a few herbs for topping).  Meanwhile, place cheesecloth over a fine mesh sieve (over a larger bowl).  Pour the ricotta mixture into the cheesecloth.  Fold the top of the cheesecloth over the mixture and then cover with plastic wrap.  Place in your refrigerator for 2 days if possible – which will allow the milk in the ricotta to drain out, leaving you with a firm ricotta dip.  (If you don’t have that much time, drain it for as long as possible.  The difference will be a little wetness on your platter from the ricotta as it sits on the counter).  When ready to serve, place the ricotta on the platter and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, top with fresh herbs and toasted macadamia nuts (see below).


Macadamia Nuts:

In a dry sauté pan over medium heat, add the macadamia nuts and toast (approx. 3-4 minutes).  Be careful not to burn.


Grapes:

In a sauté pan over medium heat, add the butter and extra virgin olive oil.  Add the diced white onion, reduce heat to low, and sauté for approx. 30 minutes, until onion is caramelized (and sweet).  Remove the onion from the sauté pan.  Increase heat to medium, and add the cluster of grapes.  Saute on each side for approx. 2 minutes (you will start to see a little charring).  Return the caramelized onions to the pan and let the flavors meld.  When placing on the platter, drizzle the caramelized onions over the grapes and decorate with sprigs of rosemary.


Crostini:
Place the sliced semolina bread on a large baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic powder and sea salt (both sides of bread).  Bake in a 350 degree oven for approx. 12 minutes (until bread is toasted).  When slightly cooled, place on the serving platter and enjoy.

 

ANTIPASTI - HERB RICOTTA WITH TOASTED

MACADAMIA NUTS & TOASTED CROSTINI

HERB RICOTTA WITH TOASTED

MACADAMIA NUTS

PESTO RICOTTA WITH

TOASTED PISTACHIOS

PUMPKIN RICOTTA WITH TOASTED MACADAMIA NUTS

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