I’m not a vegetarian but I can be during the spring and summer harvest season. The next few months when some of the veggies we started from seed are being harvested is truly one of the best seasons out of the year. I’m really excited to share with you today the latest publication by Deborah Madison, America’s leading authority on vegetarian cooking. In her new book she reveals the surprising relationships between vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs within the same botanical families. This is one of the first ‘cookbooks’ I’ve ever seen that totally identifies the relation between gardening and food.
One of my favorite recipes in this cookbook filled wit mouth watering veggies featured in fabulous recipes is this Peas with Baked Ricotta Dish which is featured in this post. I hope you will give this dish a try and let me know what you think!
Peas with Baked Ricotta and Bread Crumbs
A light supper for 2
1 cup high-quality ricotta cheese, such as hand-dipped full-fat ricotta
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
4 teaspoons butter
2 large shallots or 1/2 small onion, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
5 small sage leaves, minced (about 11/2 teaspoons)
11/2 pounds pod peas, shucked (about 1 cup)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Chunk of Parmesan cheese, for grating
Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a small baking dish; a round Spanish earthenware
dish about 6 inches across is perfect for this amount.
If your ricotta is wet and milky, drain it first by putting it in a colander and pressing out
the excess liquid. Pack the ricotta into the dish, drizzle a little olive oil over the surface,
and bake 20 minutes or until the cheese has begun to set and brown on top. Cover the
surface with the bread crumbs and continue to bake until the bread crumbs are browned
and crisp, another 10 minutes. (The amount of time it takes for ricotta cheese to bake
until set can vary tremendously, so it may well take longer than the times given here,
especially if it wasn’t drained.)
When the cheese is finished baking, heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.
When the butter foams, add the shallots and sage and cook until softened, about 3
minutes. Add the peas, 1/2 cup water, and the lemon zest. Simmer until the peas are
bright green and tender; the time will vary, but it should be 3 to 5 minutes. Whatever you
do, don’t let them turn gray. Season with salt and a little freshly ground pepper, not too
Divide the ricotta between 2 plates. Spoon the peas over the cheese. Grate some
Parmesan over all and enjoy while warm.
With Pasta: Cook 1 cup or so pasta shells in boiling, salted water. Drain and toss them
with the peas, cooked as above, and then with the ricotta. The peas nestle in the pasta,
like little green pearls.
Find out more about this book and how to order at Vegetable Literacy : Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edibel Plant Kingdom.