Summer Vegetable Ricotta Custard

There’s nothing like a versatile base that simplifies meal preparation at any time of year. In the winter, we tend to favor vegetable frittatas, open-faced Italian omelets that contain any number of cooked vegetables. But in the heat of the summer, a mixture of eggs, milk and ricotta cheese makes a light base that envelopes the vegetables and forms a light custard. The custard can be flavored with spices such as saffron or nutmeg, or with herbs such as basil, parsley or cilantro You could also add grated cheese, or even a little precooked rice, but that makes the final dish heavier and more suitable for fall.

 I made this custard twice this month: the first time with roasted eggplant, red pepper and basil the second with corn, red and orange peppers and cilantro. I have previously used eggplant, tomatoes and mushrooms, as well as yellow summer squash and wax beans. As is, this makes a simple summer supper served with fresh tomatoes or a watermelon and tomato salad with feta cheese and basil. Simple, satisfying, summer.

 Summer Vegetable Ricotta Custard

About 2 cups of roasted or otherwise cooked vegetables (e.g., a combination of eggplant and red peppers, or corn and peppers, or summer squash and beans, or tomatoes and mushrooms, or any of them alone)

2 eggs

½ c milk (low-fat is fine)

½ c ricotta cheese (low-fat is fine)

Seasonings (e.g., 1 tbsp chopped basil or parsley, ¼ tsp grated nutmeg, ¼ tsp saffron dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water)

1 tsp salt or to taste

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 1-quart baking dish. Layer the vegetables in the dish.

Lightly beat the eggs and add the milk, ricotta cheese, stirring to combine well, Add seasonings and salt. Pour over the vegetables.

Bake until set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving

Categories: Corn, Eggplant, Peppers, Vegetable gratinTags:

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