I will be posting a number of recipes in the upcoming weeks for small finger or party foods as I work on putting together my menu for the wine tastings we are holding at our farmhouse here in Umbria. I am looking for dishes that can be assembled and cooked quickly but taste delicious and present well. This is another appetizer I created recently that I really liked. Puff pastry is a wonderful tool for creating easy appetizers that look wonderful and here in Italy you can buy fresh puff pastry, or pasta sfoglia in the dairy section of every grocery store. I also do know that it is often found in the frozen food section in North America although if you have the time and inclination you certainly could make your own! You can prepare the roasted tomatoes and pesto sauce the day before you prepare the ricotta bites.
For this recipe, I simply cut squares of puff pastry a little larger than my muffin tins. I topped them with some fresh sheep’s milk ricotta that I mixed with fresh chopped herbs and then baked them until golden and puffy. Once the ricotta bites cool, I top each with a half of oven roasted cherry tomato and a tiny dollop of basil pesto. These bites were light, crunchy, yet full of flavor and I will certainly be making them again!
The Cherry Tomatoes Ready For Roasting
Deborah Mele 2011
- 10 To 15 Large Ripe Cherry Tomatoes (Golf Ball Size)
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme (Or Herb Of Choice)
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
To Finish The Bites:
- 1 Roll Puff Pastry At Room Temperature
- 1 Cup Fresh Ricotta
- 1 Teaspoon Both Fresh Chopped Parsley And Basil
- Salt & Pepper
- Pesto Sauce
- To make the tomatoes, preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Halve the tomatoes, and place skin side down on a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle over them the garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and sugar, and drizzle with the olive oil and place in the oven.
- Bake for about one to one and a half hours or until they have shriveled yet still remain moist.
- Cool, and use as desired.
- For the bites, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Lightly grease the muffin cups.
- Cut the puff pastry into squares slightly larger than you muffin cups and center one into each cup.
- In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese and fresh herbs.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon a couple of spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture into each muffin cup and then bake for about 15 minutes or until the ricotta has puffed and set and the pastry has turned golden brown.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Carefully remove from the muffin pan and place on a platter.
- Before serving top each bite with half a roasted cherry tomato and a tiny dollop of pesto. Serve.