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.

Total Time:
30 min.

UNA's Roasted Tomato Ricotta Toast


Homemade Ricotta (Optional): 

-4 cups whole milk 

-2 cups heavy cream 

-1 tsp salt 

-3 Tbsp white wine vinegar 


-Homemade ricotta (or store bought is fine as well) 

-Zest of 1 lemon 

-1 pint cherry tomatoes 

-3 garlic cloves

-1 cup balsamic vinegar 

-Good bread! (Baguette, ciabatta, sourdough etc.)

-1 bunch basil 

-Olive oil 


-Freshly ground black pepper


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.

Pairing Notes

Everything here is designed to immerse you in a romantic Italian past. The music comes from post-renaissance Italy, the age when operas and concertos were coming into their own. The toast is packed with an assortment of sweet and savory flavors, crisp and creamy textures, to suggest all the lush produce of the sun-kissed Latin soil. Even the colors of the dish are green, white, and red- the Italian flag. You could close your eyes and imagine yourself looking over a Venetian canal or ancient ruin as you sink into the toast and hear the Vivaldi drifting over from street players in the plaza.

Though the music is in a minor key, it is swift throughout this first movement, maintaining a balance between emotion and energy, like the dish is balanced between the crispy bread and flavorful toppings. The dry string accompaniment never lets up its pulse, so you can’t quite relax into the sadness that waits outside the door. It is the same with the toast- if there were no bread there to ground you, it would be impossible to withstand the sharp onslaught of flavors from the tomatoes, garlic, cheese, and vinaigrette. And yet if there were not a hint of something deeper, the bread and the music would be boring.

In the second movement, however, the heart rate drops considerably, and there is nothing but a deep well of emotion. It is like we have suddenly stopped time and are tasting the roasted tomato endlessly. The violin soloist walks a tightrope over clouds of still harmony, and there is endless time to indulge in the richness of the music and food. Notice here the smells and tastes of the tomato of course, and also the creamy cheese and the sweet and sticky yet biting vinaigrette drizzle.

The third movement wakes us from the dream of those colorful flavors and ties everything together in a fast-paced dance that represents both the crispiness of the bread and the richness of the toppings. It is indulgent and danceable all at once, and rounds out the drama of our ten minute Italian journey.

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