It has been HOT in Chicago, and the last thing that someone wants to do on a hot summer day is to spend time sweating over the stove while cooking dinner. Today I am sharing a super simple and creative dinner idea – ricotta toast made five different ways. I thought it would be fun to try a handful of different ricotta toast recipes; you can opt to serve one or all. Even if you make all five different preparations you will only be spending about 15 minutes in the kitchen.
These recipes are easy, scalable, and fuss free. That is how I think summer meals should be. This is a perfect meal to eat al fresco – there is nothing better than sharing a rooftop meal while the sun sets.
I think the idea of ricotta toast is perfect for a cocktail party. You could even just set out all of the toppings and let guests assemble their own ricotta toasts!
I love the creaminess and light flavor of ricotta. It’s easy to make from scratch, but I tend to take the easy way out and buy it at the grocery store. I highly recommend buying fresh bakery bread to make ricotta toast. I like to use a white Italian style bread. I think something without a super hard crust is best.
Now on to recipes for the five preparations of ricotta toast:
Roasted Tomatoes and Basil: Slice grape tomatoes in half, drizzle olive oil over, dust with salt and pepper, and roast in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. Spread a layer of ricotta over toast, add tomatoes on top, and garnish with fresh basil.
Toasted Walnuts with Brown Butter and Honey: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat. As soon as the butter begins to brown add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Reduce the heat to low and let the nuts simmer for 2 minutes. Spread ricotta over toast, add the walnuts and some of the butter and drizzle honey over the top. Add a slice of prosciutto if you want.
Chicken and Pesto: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil. Add a chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper. Sear each side of the chicken breast for 3 minutes, until golden brown. Reduce the heat to low and cook the chicken for another 10 minutes. Slice the chicken, and pour some store-bought pesto into the skillet. Heat over medium heat until the pesto is warm. Spread toast with some ricotta and add some of the pesto soaked chicken on top.
Bolognese: Brown 1/2 pound of ground beef in a small skillet, using a wooden spoon to break the beef into small pieces. Once the beef has browned, add one cup of store-bought tomato sauce. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Spread ricotta over toast, and add a hearty spoonful of the bolognese sauce. Garnish with fresh basil.
Blackberries and Honey: Mash some fresh blackberries (pro tip: do not wear white). Spread toast with ricotta and add a spoonful of the blackberries on top. Add a drizzle of honey. If you want a really interesting sweet and salty flavor combination, add a bit of prosciutto.
Which ricotta toast sounds the best to you? What have you been eating during this heat wave?