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The weeks before Christmas always seem so hectic. In addition to the flurry of Christmas parties, there is the mad rush of buying presents and planning food for your Christmas feast. That is when I love the comfort of simple home-cooked food, pre-prepared and waiting for me when I get home after a busy day.


Baked ricotta is one of those dishes. I often make it late at night, throwing the ingredients together, baking it and then letting it cool overnight. This recipe is a slight variation on my regular baked ricotta, as I added some silver beet I had in the fridge. The prosciutto is also an addition – next time I would put a few more slices as the three slices I put as a layer weren’t enough to get that salty prosciutto hit. You could put a layer of basil pesto or olive tapenade through the middle in place of the prosciutto, or you could replace the spinach with finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes throughout. There are endless variations of this recipe. I always put lemon zest through the ricotta – it gives it such a fresh flavour. I love eating baked ricotta cold with a salad or sliced onto bread. It will keep for 3 or 4 days in the fridge, so should see you through a few busy light dinners before the joyous madness that is Christmas.


baked ricotta with spinach and prosciutto

750g (1 lb 10oz) fresh ricotta
1 bunch greens (spinach or silver beet), tough stalks trimmed
4 medium sized eggs
150g (5-6 oz) grated parmigiano cheese
small lemon, zest only
salt and pepper to taste
4 or 5 slices prosciutto (or regular ham)
olive oil for brushing on the top

Rinse the spinach and blanch for a couple of minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Drain well, chop finely and set aside to cool. In a large bowl place the ricotta and mash it with a fork, adding the eggs, lemon zest, cheese, cooled spinach and salt and pepper to taste.

Place half the mixture in a lined 22cm (9″) diameter cake tin with a removable base, then layer on the prosciutto before adding the rest of the ricotta mixture. Flatten with the back of a large spoon and brush on a bit of olive oil. Bake in a preheated 160 C/320F oven for 60 minutes until golden and firm. Allow to cool in the tin. Serve wedges of baked ricotta at room temperature with a salad. It is also delicious as a sandwich filling.



  • Debra Kolkka says:

    This looks delicious!

  • lizbert1 says:

    Mmm, now I’m hungry! Great post, thanks for the recipe ideas!

  • Jo O'mara says:

    I have always wanted to know how to make this! I can’t wait to try it!

  • missemzyy says:

    Stunning photography as always!! I’m salivating over here! I need to make this with my homemade ricotta 🙂

    • Thank you! And you make your own ricotta? What fun. I have tried to make it too but ended up tasting a bit like vinegar compared to the one you buy. How often do you make yours? What do you use to make the curds separate?

      • missemzyy says:

        I had the same problem- it tasted like vinegar and the curds were very rubbery. However I adjusted the recipe and now I halve the amount of vinegar with lemon juice. I also found that adding cream makes the ricotta much more smooth and creamier in texture! I make it all the time now and it only takes roughly 30 minutes- 20 minutes just waiting for the curds to seperate! Check out my recipe- you won’t buy ricotta again! 🙂

  • Heidi says:

    This is so interesting! It is kind of like the inside of Torta Pasqualina right? I love the idea. May have to give it a shot and see if the kids will go for it too!

  • sabine says:

    What a wonderful recipe, this will surely be tried very very soon!

  • Yum, I could eat this right now…

  • paninigirl says:

    Love this recipe-I am going to make it as soon as I can get some ricotta.

  • There are few things in life as satisfying as a savory tart. This one looks wonderful.

  • Karen says:

    A slice of the baked ricotta and a glass of Champagne sounds like a nice treat on Christmas Eve.

  • sylvia says:

    Hi Paola. I love your blog! I stumbled upon it when I googled “Crostoli” – I was having nostalgia for the ones my mom and aunts made when I was young. I’ve enjoyed reading about recipes that are reminiscent of what my family cooked- string bean and potato salad was a staple in our home. I was delighted to discover that your family hails from the same town as does mine – Pola. My family came to New York in 1952, under the same circumstances as your family. I think they might have stayed in Bagnoli as well as some other camps. I recall them saying that there was an option to go the US or to Australia at the time. I look forward to checking in periodically – your recipes and photos are beautiful. Auguri e buon anno!

    • Hello Sylvia how lovely to hear from you, i am so glad you found me. I love how we can connect across continents. I love that your family is from Pola!! Have you ever been there? It is beautiful but also makes me quite sad when i think of all those who felt they needed to leave, their dreams of a future in istria broken. My father preferred to go to New York rather than Australia but couldn’t stand more time in the camp in Italy, plus they had also almost run out of money. Interesting the turns that life takes! Thanks so much for commenting and great to meet you (virtually). Buon anno a te Paola xx

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