Baked Ricotta Appetizer Recipe Perfect For Fall

A starter with a buttery finish

Fall is approaching and, in tandem with the imminent chill, our hankerings have turned toward comforting food. Gregory and Gabrielle Denton, the chefs and owners of Ox Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, are feeding our need. The pair's creamy ricotta appetizer is broiled until golden before it is topped with a slew of mushrooms cooked with garlic and white wine; the final flourish of balsamic brown butter had us reaching for seconds. Handily, the recipe makes extra balsamic brown butter, ideal for spooning over steak, scallops or a big bowl of pasta.

Recipe adapted from Gregory Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox Restaurant, Portland, OR

Baked Ricotta With Mushrooms And Balsamic Brown Butter
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Baked Ricotta with Mushrooms and Balsamic Brown Butter from Ox Restaurant in Portland, OR
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 40 minutes
  • Ricotta
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Balsamic Brown Butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small loaf rustic bread, thickly sliced 
  1. Dampen a doubled, large piece of cheesecloth with cold water and use it to line a fine-mesh strainer. Set over a medium bowl, add the ricotta and refrigerate for 1 hour. Discard the excess liquid and reserve the ricotta.
  2. In a medium skillet, add the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Place the skillet over medium heat and cook until the garlic is lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and white wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until the wine has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a medium bowl.
  3. Make the balsamic brown butter: In a medium saucepan set over low heat, add the butter. Melt the butter, stirring frequently, until it is fragrant and turns a deep brown color, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. To finish: Place the oven rack in the top of the oven and preheat the broiler to high. Divide the strained ricotta between four shallow ramekins, slightly mounding the ricotta in the middle of each dish. Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and place under the broiler. Cook, rotating the baking sheet halfway through cooking, until the ricotta is browned on top and heated all the way through, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with the mushrooms. Drizzle with a little balsamic brown butter (store the rest in an airtight container for up to 1 week). Serve the baked ricotta warm with bread.
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