This dip is sure to impress. Serve it along side some croistini or other crisp cracker that can withstand the weight of ricotta cheese when dipping and scooping.
Essentially this dish is just ricotta cheese with a swirl of pesto on top, so it can be whipped up in a jiffy and can be altered to fit seasonal ingredients effortlessly. The pesto recipe, like all pesto recipes is pretty versatile. Pesto can be made from so many different ingredients; basil, peas, pea shoots, parsley, kale, tarragon, mint, arugula, dandelion, spinach, cilantro, broccoli raab, radish greens, sundried tomato, garlic scape, swiss chard, the list goes on and on!
Honestly, I don't follow a recipe when making pesto. I have a small 2 1/2 cup food processor attachment for my immersion blender, so I rarely make full batches either. I'm basically looking for a flavour/texture when making pesto and have been through enough recipes to know what I like and what I want. I usually start by filling the processor 80% full of leaves (two large handfuls of pea shoot, basil, kale, a mix, whatever) then I add a handful of Parmesan (though pecorino is good too), and a few good lugs of olive oil (maybe about 1/4-1/3 cup). Sometimes I add nuts (almond, pine, walnut), garlic, and or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. A quick whiz in the processor will let you know what else is needed. Too thick? Add more olive oil. Too thin? Add some more leaves. Not salty enough? add more cheese or some salt.
Remember when making pesto that you're not cooking it (usually) so it's in your best interest to use high quality ingredients - the best exrta virgin olive oil you can afford and the best Parmesan cheese really do make a big difference.
The above picture was a pea shoot pesto, which used some pea shoots, frozen peas (thawed), basil, and mint. Don't be afraid to mix it up!
Pesto & Ricotta Dip
2 cups greens (kale, arugula, basil, etc)
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1 garlic clove, finely grated (optional)
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
425 g fresh ricotta
Flaky sea salt, for garnish
more olive oil, for garnish
Toasted bread, for serving
1. In a food processor, combine the greens, Parmesan and garlic. Purée until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and process until you have a chunky paste, then season with salt and pepper. Taste and add whatever is missing.
2. Spread the ricotta on a plate and dollop the pesto on top. Next, swirl the pesto into the ricotta and garnish with olive oil, pepper and flaky sea salt, then serve with toasted bread.