Whipped Ricotta Toast with Green Bagna Cauda

SERVES: 2-4

If for some reason you’ve got leftover bagna cauda left after smashing these toasts, there are plenty of other ways to use it–as a dip for crudités, tossed with warm boiled potatoes, stirred into labneh or sour cream and served with potato chips, tossed with sauteed green beans, the list goes on. Think of this as a turbo charged pesto, and deploy it accordingly. Great olive oil is key here, as it’s the backbone of this sauce, so choose something you love the taste of––I developed this recipe with California Olive Ranch.

Active Time: 30 Mins

Total Time: 30 mins

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Produce

  • 9 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon

Pantry

  • ⅓ cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling (pref California Olive Ranch!)
  • 8 oil packed anchovies
  • ¼ cup raw pistachios
  • 2 1” thick slices of really nice crusty sourdough

Dairy

  • 12 ounces fresh whole milk ricotta cheese

Frozen

  • 6 ounces frozen spinach

1. Start the green bagna cauda:

  • Lightly smash and peel 9 garlic cloves. Set one clove aside. Place the remaining cloves in a small pot along with 8 oil packed anchovies and ⅓ cup olive oil. Set over very low heat and cook, stirring and swirling the pan every few minutes, and reducing the heat as needed so it doesn't cook too quickly, until the garlic cloves are soft and mashable, 15- 20 minutes. The timing for this will vary based on the width of your pot, but just pay attention and be careful not to burn, the lower and slower the better here.
  • While the garlic cooks, thaw and squeeze the water out of 6 ounces frozen spinach. Once the garlic is soft, add the spinach. Increase the heat to medium high and cook until all of the excess water has evaporated and the greens are wilted and bright green and oily, 2-3 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Finely chop ¼ cup shelled pistachios in the bowl of a food processor. Add the contents of the pot to the pistachios along with 2 more tablespoons olive oil and process until a green paste forms (it will look pesto-ish). Transfer to a bowl.

2. Whip the ricotta:

  • Rinse and dry the food processor, then return it to its base with 12 ounces fresh ricotta, the finely grated zest of 1 lemon, and a big pinch of salt. Pulse in 4 or 5 long pulses until very creamy, whipped and smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

3. Toast the bread and assemble:

  • Preheat your broiler.
  • Cut a few 1“ thick slices of bread (as many as you need to serve!). Arrange on a baking sheet and broil, keeping an eye on things, until golden brown and toasted on both sides, flipping once halfway, about 1-2 minutes per side. Rub the remaining clove of garlic over the tops of each slice of bread.
  • Shmear a big dollop of whipped ricotta on each slice. Spoon a generous tablespoon of bagna cauda into the center of the ricotta. Season the toasts with flaky sea salt, and drizzle generously with olive oil. Squeeze some lemon juice over each toast and eat warm!

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