Early Spring Stew with Baked Ricotta
baby new potatoes
extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
Large bunch of basil, leaves picked
heads of small lettuce, such as baby Cos or Little Gem
bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
shelled broad beans
shelled fresh peas
A couple of bunches of soft herbs, leaves only, roughly chopped
This brothy soup from Anna Jones’s The Modern Cook’s Year is full of richness from baked ricotta, and bright, refreshing flavors from the herbs, spring onions, and Little Gem lettuces. Fresh peas add a pop of sweetness, and baby potatoes make it hearty enough to act as its own one-bowl meal.
- Preheat the oven to 390ºF. Halve or quarter any larger potatoes and place them on a baking tray. Make a space in the middle for the ricotta, then upturn the tub of ricotta on to the tray so that it sits in a little mound in the middle.
- Season everything with salt and pepper and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Use a spoon to turn the potatoes over to make sure they are coated in the oil and seasonings, then grate over the zest of the lemons, making sure there is plenty of zest on top of the ricotta. Scatter over half the basil leaves. Put the tray into the hot oven to cook for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut your lettuces into 4 wedges and put them on another tray. In a small bowl, mix together the juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the mustard, honey and a good pinch of salt and grind of pepper. Pour the dressing over the lettuce wedges and use your hands to coat them really well. Once the potatoes have had their 20 minutes, add the tray of lettuce to the oven and cook everything for another 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are brown and the lettuces charred at the edges, then take them out of the oven.
- Meanwhile, in a large deep saucepan with a lid, heat a little olive oil on a medium heat, add the chopped spring onions and cook for a couple of minutes until brown at the edges. Add the stock and the olive oil and bring to the boil. Taste the stock, and if you think it needs it, add a little seasoning.
- Add the broad beans and peas to the broth and cook for a minute or two, then stir through half the chopped herbs and take off the heat.
- To serve, divide the potatoes and lettuce between four bowls, top with the broth, then break or spoon over the ricotta, the rest of the herbs and a drizzle of oil.
From The Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones, published by Abrams Books © 2019. Photo credit: 4th Estate and Ana Cuba