Pack a mouthful of Italian drama and passion into your afternoon with Vivaldi and a lovely ricotta toast. His exciting yet sensitive Concerto in A Minor draws out the flavors in the dish and brings these few simple ingredients beautifully together. Each movement tells a passionate story and when combined with Italy’s favorite flavors, you get a sunny getaway right from the comfort of your kitchen.
If you are making the ricotta yourself, start by pouring the milk, cream and salt into a large heavy pot such as a dutch oven. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent any milk solids burning or the mixture boiling over. Once boiling, turn off the heat and stir in your vinegar. Let rest for 1 minute as it curdles. You should see the mixture separate into curds and whey at this point. Pour into a cheesecloth lined sieve and let drain at room temperature for about 20 minutes or until the ricotta reaches your desired texture. This recipe will yield about 2 cups of ricotta and anything you don’t use should be covered and refrigerated for up to about a week.
While your ricotta is draining or if you’re using store bought, now is a good time to preheat your oven to 400f. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced by half and slightly thickened, approx 10-15 minutes. While that is happening, toss the tomatoes in a generous drizzle of olive oil, a few pinches of salt and a good amount of pepper. Add seasoned tomatoes and garlic cloves with the skins on into a large oven safe skillet, preferably cast iron, and roast in the oven for approx 15 minutes or until just starting to burst but not completely broken down. While the tomatoes are roasting, slice your bread and chiffonade your basil. Once the tomatoes are ready, transfer them to a medium bowl and place that same skillet on the stove top over medium heat. Add a little more oil to the skillet if necessary and toast your bread in the tomato, garlic oil you now have from roasting. At this point you’ll want to liven up the ricotta a little bit with the zest of one lemon, a little salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Once the bread is toasted, squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skins and spread onto the toast. Smear on some ricotta, top with roasted tomatoes, basil, a drizzle of balsamic reduction, a bit of olive oil and some flaky salt to finish if you have it.