Friday, December 31, 2010

Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake with Chanterelles

In an attempt to slightly atone for my pretty sparse blogging this year, I am trying to squeeze in one more post before the new year arrives (good thing I am in one of the last few time zones to welcome 2011). We hosted some family for an evening tea a few days ago, so in addition to sweet things (fruit salad and lemon pie), my mom (who was visiting - yay!) and I thought we should have a savory dish as well. This (non-sweet) cheesecake fit the bill quite well - it's easy to make, doesn't need last minute fussing when the guests arrive, and was a hit with everyone. We adapted the original recipe by adding chanterelles and were rather pleased with the look and taste of the result.

Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake with Chanterelles
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 lb mushrooms (chanterelles, shiitake, or some other "pretty" mushroom), cleaned and chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups zucchini, unpeeled & grated
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2½ cups ricotta cheese
½ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
4 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
zest of one lemon
2 large eggs, well beaten
⅓ cup goat cheese, crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 325°F degrees, racks the middle. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Wrap the ricotta in some cheesecloth and allow some of the moisture to drain away. (This step is not strictly necessary but can be helpful, even when your ricotta looks rather non-watery, like ours did - chances are there is still plenty of water to be drained away from it.)

3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add half of the chopped shallots. Once they've softened a bit, add the chopped mushrooms and sauté until they are cooked through. Set the cooked mushrooms aside.

4. In a strainer, toss the shredded zucchini with the salt and let sit for (at least) ten minutes. (Ours sat draining for much, much longer, and it was still OK.) Now squeeze and press out as much moisture as you can. Set aside.

5. Combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, remaining shallots, garlic, dill and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Stir in the eggs and continue mixing until well combined. Now stir in the shredded zucchini.

6. Fill the springform pan with the ricotta mixture and place the pan on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.

7. Take out the cheesecake and cover the top with the cooked mushroom/shallot mixture. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top of the mushrooms. Return to the oven for another 20-30 minutes or until the goat cheese is melted.


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