Ricotta hotcakes

Ingredients

  • 225g ricotta
  • 3 tbsp parmesan, grated
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 80g self-raising flour
  • 40g butter, for frying
  • For the topping:
  • 150g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • Salt and black pepper
  • ½ clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 50g baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp basil leaves, shredded
  • 30g pine nuts, toasted and chopped
Ricotta hotcakes
    Serves four

As is always the way with pancakes, the first hotcake to come out of the pan will probably be a bit misshapen. Just scoff it, and carry on with the rest. This dish makes for a great light supper, but there are endless other options to experiment with – burned aubergine flesh mixed with lemon juice, garlic and crème fraîche, say, or strips of roasted red pepper marinated in olive oil and hard herbs, and served with sour cream. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Cut the tomatoes in half and toss them in a bowl with half the oil and some salt and pepper. Arrange skin-side down on an oven tray and bake for an hour, until the tomatoes have lost much of their moisture.
  2. About 20 minutes before the tomatoes are ready, start on the hotcakes. Combine the cheeses, milk and egg yolks in a large bowl, stir in the flour and a quarter teaspoon of salt, and mix to a uniform batter. Pour the egg whites into a separate bowl and whisk until foamy but not totally stiff; fold into the ricotta mix.
  3. Heat half the butter in a large, nonstick frying pan. Drop in two to three tablespoons of batter per pancake and use the back of the spoon to help shape them into round pancakes roughly 1cm thick and 10cm in diameter. Cook for a minute or two on each side, until golden. Keep warm and repeat with the remaining batter.
  4. Mix the remaining oil, garlic, vinegar and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the spinach and, using your hands, toss gently. Serve two pancakes per person, topped with the spinach salad and tomatoes, and finished off with a sprinkling of fresh basil and pine nuts. Serve at once.