Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Dip



God! I am seriously obsessed with Roasted Red Peppers!

So after the Soup, Hummus and the dreamy Sauce, comes a deliciously velvety dip - Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Dip. And of course it has a ton of roasted garlic too!

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I love casual and impromptu get-togethers. So much better and relaxed than those formal dos, which involves months of meticulous planning and execution and a constant pressure to be the 'perfect' host.

When it comes to casual parties, Chip N Dip recipes works best for me. What better way to hangout and catch up, than over chilled bear and munching on fresh veggies or crispy baked chips slathered in creamy, delicious dips.




Guacamole is and will forever be my dip of choice for any party. But I also try to add a new dip to my repertoire, every now and then. I stumbled on this recipe, by chance and it had been on my mind for quite sometime now. If you read the reviews, the recipe is not very encouraging. People have called it bland, too liquidy , grainy, not smooth and creamy and all sorts of no-so-pleasant names.

But in my head, I had fallen totally in love with the flavor combination of roasted red bell pepper and ricotta. It was just a matter of jazzing it up and improving the texture.

Now ricotta cheese is not sour cream or cream cheese. Its texture is not silky smooth and creamy. It has a grainy texture and no amount of blending or processing is going to make it silky or airy.

Solution: Add a little softened Cream Cheese. It will improve the texture and make it thick and creamy and give it a 'dip' like consistency.

Also, if you are using jarred red peppers, drain it well and squeeze out any moisture left, with a kitchen towel.




Ricotta cheese is sweet and mild flavored. It doesn't pack a robust punch. But that exactly what makes the taste of sweet roasted peppers shine through. To bring out the flavor, it must be well seasoned with adequate salt and pepper. And it needs Roasted Garlic!

Lots of Roasted Garlic!!!

Roasted Garlic, with its sweet, caramelized flavor and smoky garlicky aroma, can enhance the taste of practically anything. And that's exactly what this dip needed.

The dip turned out so good. All my guest loved it. A part of the leftover dip was used as a sandwich spread, which I loved. And the other part was thinned with a wee bit of milk and tossed with boiled pasta and sauteed veggies. It made a very delicious lunch for the boy.

I hope you give this creamy dip a try. I assure you, this is neither bland nor boring but a delightful treat for your taste buds.

Recipe Snapshot: Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Dip


Serves: 8 -10 serving
(1 serving = 2 tbsp)

What I used:
Red Bell Peppers - 2, cut in half, seeds and membranes removed
Or
Jarred Roasted Red Peppers - 1 (12 oz) jar, drained and patted dry

Garlic Cloves - 6 (or more or less depending on your taste. We love garlic. The more the merrier)

Part Skimmed Ricotta Cheese - about 1 cup (I used half of a 15 oz tub), at room temperature

Cream Cheese - 1/2 cup (I used half of a 8 oz bar), at room temperature

Salt and freshly cracked Pepper to taste


What I did:

1. I prefer to roast my own red peppers and garlic. But jarred ones are fine too. I have done both and there is not much of a difference, except the fact, how wonderful your kitchen smells when you roast your veggies.

To roast peppers and garlic: Preheat the oven at 450 F. Half the red peppers and remove all seeds and membranes. Lay them cut side down on a aluminium foil lined cookie sheet. Also toss in the skin-on garlic cloves. Drizzle a little canola or olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes or till the peppers are soft and the skin charred. Once the peppers are soft, put them in a zip lock or cover the roasting tray with foil. This will help the peppers steam and skinning them will be easier.



2. Remove the charred skin of the peppers and garlic, once they are cool enough to handle. Give them a rough chop and place them in the bowl of the food processor. Save a tablespoon of chopped red pepper for garnish.



3. Add the Ricotta Cheese and Cream Cheese and process for about 2 minutes, stopping and scrapping down the bowl, every 30 to 45 seconds, till it becomes a smooth and creamy homogeneous dip.

4. Add the salt and pepper to taste and give it another quick pulse.

5. Scrape the creamy dip into the serving bowl and garnish with the reserved chopped red pepper and parsley and serve with fresh veggie strips or baked corn chips.


Diabetic Platter:
Ricotta Cheese:
Ricotta Cheese packs plenty of protein and is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, and selenium. It also comes with a good amount of vitamin A, which supports vision and helps form and maintain healthy teeth, skin, bones, and mucous membranes. Opting for part-skim varieties of ricotta helps to reduce your fat intake -- a half-cup serving of part-skim ricotta contains 9.8 grams of fat, compared to 16.1 grams in its full-fat counterpart.

Roasted Red Peppers
In addition to their bright color, sweet taste and velvety texture, roasted red peppers are a low-calorie addition to a dish that comes chock-full of nutritional benefits. A half cup of roasted red peppers contains only 25 calories per serving. The same sized serving contains no fat or cholesterol, and has 1 gram of dietary fiber and 1 gram of protein per serving. It also contains 35 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A, 80 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C and 15 percent of your daily recommended intake for calcium.
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