Roasted Yellow Beet and Ricotta Tian

I find it impossible to resist beets. Their colors are magnificent – it’s a miracle that nature can provide something edible that is so vibrantly hued. With the vivid color, of course, comes nutrients. Beets are a nutritional powerhouse, rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins and beta-carotene. I purchased these beets at the farmers’ market, without knowing how I would prepare them. I was simply happy looking at them.

Prompted by a batch of fluffy ricotta in my fridge, I decided to layer the yellow beets with the cheese as a riff on lasagna, with the beet slices replacing the lasagna sheets.  Yellow beets are milder in flavor than red beets, and their nutty, buttery flavor wouldn’t overpower the cheese. I also feared the red beets would completely saturate the dish with their magenta color, which, while lovely to look, threatened to irrevocably tint my pristine ricotta. This is a visually motivated dish.

Roasted Yellow Beet and Ricotta Tian
Makes 1 – 8 inch square tian or 4 individual ramekins

1 1/2 pounds yellow beets (4 medium or 8 small)
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup finely shredded basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Trim and peel beets. Slice very thinly crosswise with a mandoline or knife. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beet slices. Cook until tender but firm, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Blot dry with a kitchen towel. Place in a bowl and toss with juice of 1/2 lemon.
Combine lemon zest, ricotta, garlic, basil, 1/4 cup pecorino cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a bowl.
Arrange beets in one layer, slightly overlapping, in an earthenware or gratin dish. Smear some of the ricotta over the beets. Repeat layering process, finishing with ricotta on the top. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons pecorino cheese. Bake until beets are tender and cheese is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve garnished with fresh basil leaves.

23 responses to “Roasted Yellow Beet and Ricotta Tian

  1. I find it impossible to resist ricotta. Thanks for giving me a new way to use it.

  2. Beautiful – a latecomer to beets, I always look for them in the markets…I learned to wear surgical gloves when preparing red beets! Your tian looks so tempting and I’ll bet the layers are colorful as well.

  3. Beautiful dish… I like the idea of quickly blanching the beets, will look for some at the grocery store, maybe use a mixture of red and yellow….

  4. This sounds and looks absolutely delicious. I’m so impressed with your photographs, and feel I learn something new about food photography each time I visit….if only I could find a way to translate that knowledge to my work. – S

  5. Oh what pretty photos! Food52 has a contest running now for recipes with Fresh Ricotta. Have you entered this one? Looks like a winner.
    — Rivki @ Healthy Eating for Ordinary People

  6. I love beetroots in every colour & I am a big fan of fresh ricotta but I only use fresh speep’s ricotta!

    What a tasty & fabulously looking meal!

  7. That’s so lovely. I wonder if my husband might like beets if he tried the yellow ones. Thanks for the link!

  8. I much prefer yellow beets to red. I like the flavor, and not having to spend 15 minutes brushing my teeth to remove beet stain. The lemon and ricotta should go perfectly. I must have this now…

  9. Farmers markets do that to me to. I want to pick up everything that I see and take it with me, with a recipe in mind or not. This is a wonderful dish. Thank you.

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  11. Gorgeous! Beets always get a bad rap, but you and I know how special they can be.

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  15. Oh my god that looks divine. just by looking at it is making me hungry. i bet it is a great dish on a cold day, but that’s just my opinion. it is definitely something on my list for this weekend.

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