This dish is all about the carrots, so use the sweetest, freshest ones you can find. Save the greens for making the gremolata. I have a physical dependency on Bellwether Farm’s whole milk, basket-dipped ricotta and highly recommend it here. Alternatively, you can make your own. Don’t prepare the gremolata until you’re about to serve the dish, as the mint will blacken. I don’t mind making a meal of this, a green salad, a hunk of bread, and a glass of wine, but you can also serve it as a first course or contorno, or to the side of grilled meat of some sort.
Serves 4-6 as a first course, 2-3 as a main course
For the carrots
1 pound carrots (from 2 smallish bunches)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
12 ounces good quality, whole milk ricotta
juice of 1/2 a lemon
finishing salt, such as Maldon flake
For the gremolata
small handful mint leaves
small handful carrot greens
1 small garlic clove
zest of half a lemon
Roast the carrots
1 Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375ºF.
2 Trim and scrub the carrots, reserving the greens. Slice larger carrots in half lengthwise, and halve crosswise if longer than 6 inches. Place the carrots on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and honey, and sprinkle with the cumin, chile flakes, and salt. Roast, tossing occasionally, until the carrots are golden and collapsing in places and very tender, 20-30 minutes.
3 Spread the ricotta in the bottom of a medium-sized baking vessel. Top with the roasted carrots and any good stuff that’s stuck to the pan. Bake until the ricotta is warmed through, 5-10 minutes.
To make the gremolata just before serving
4 Place the herbs on a cutting board, and use a microplane (or the finest holes on a box grater) to grate the garlic clove and lemon zest over the herbs. Use a sharp chef’s knife to chop everything together.
5 When the ricotta and carrots are done, remove from the oven and sprinkle with some of the gremolata (you may not need all of it), a good squeeze of lemon juice, a few pinches of flaky salt, and a grind or two of black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The Carousel thanks Bojong Gourmet for this recipe