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Okay, so I don’t usually get too worked up about side dishes. I tend towards those dishes that pretty much feature all the food groups and courses in one handy pan. That’s why I love Shepherd’s Pie [1], and Chili Dog Casserole [2], and pretty much anything with pasta in it [3]. But every once in a while a side dish comes along and steals my heart. That’s what happened with these gorgeous little potatoes.

It might have been because they feature ricotta cheese. I have recently learned how to make my own ricotta cheese, and so my ricotta cheese radar is on high alert. You can feel free to be a normal person and buy your own ricotta cheese (Whole Foods has great fresh ricotta), or you can join me in home-made ricotta cheese paradise by clicking here [4]. In any case, you need some ricotta cheese…

And a couple of these…


And the best olive oil you can find. I get mine at the wonderful Palisades Indoor Farmer’s Market, and if you live in the northern New Jersey/Southern New York area, you must check this out. Olive oil, fresh veggies, cheese, fish, jam, glorious baked goods….yes, yes, yes.

Anyway, you cook up a bunch of baby red potatoes by drizzling them with olive oil, salt and pepper and wrapping them up in a foil packet. Bake the packet until the potatoes are tender. Let them cool just until you are able to press them open, and then you top them with a mixture made of the ricotta, some grated parmesan cheese and some lemon peel. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top, grind some fresh pepper, and you almost don’t need a main course.

However, I live with the Southern husband, and so we had some beer and brown sugar-marinated rib-eye steak on the side of the lemon ricotta potatoes.

Life is good.

Lemon Ricotta Potatoes

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for drizzling

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450. Place the potatoes on a 3 foot long piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil, coarse salt and ground pepper. Bring edges of foil together to make a sealed packet, place on baking pan and bake for 40 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine both cheeses, lemon zest and salt to taste. When potatoes are done, cool just until you can handle them, then cut a small X on each one and squeeze open.
3. Place a spoonful of the ricotta mixture on each potato, grind some pepper on top and drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Serve immediately.


Recipe adapted fromĀ 
Everyday Food [7]

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