Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ricotta Onion Pie

In these increasingly brighter twilight hours, it's not yet spring, not quite still winter. Nonetheless, the nights are chilly, but the time for slow-cooked stews and warming soups has passed. This girl needs a little something different in her life. Could a simple ricotta onion pie hold salvation?

I first prepared this several years ago in honor of a retiring co-worker. It's really quite a simple dish to throw together.

Fry some bacon up, then saute the onions in a touch of the grease until soft and smooth. Mix it all up with some ricotta, green onions, chives, eggs and spices: dump it all in an unbaked pie shell and cook for 30 minutes.

It was easy, it was quick, and most importantly, it was the first thing to disappear from the appetizer table at work that day. Thirty hungry librarians wouldn't steer you wrong, would they?

A recent bout of food doldrums had me thumbing through past recipes, which is how I re-discovered this one. The milder days and chilly evenings seemed to craft the perfect backdrop for a savory pie that was a little rich and very filling. I made this one twice over. The first time I made the mistake of using low-fat ricotta, and entirely forgetting the onion powder. The resulting pie was unsurprisingly blase and bland. The second time, I made a pie crust with lard, used full-fat ricotta and garlic-herb flavored cracker crumbs for the topping.

The verdict? With a salad and a glass of wine, it was the perfect respite for a middling-weather night.

Ricotta Onion Pie

1/2 pound bacon, chopped
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs
1 1/4 cups full-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup minced chives
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
freshly grated nutmeg, as desired
1 unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350. Fry bacon until crisp; set aside on paper toweling. Drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease, and saute onions until soft and browned, about 20 minutes.
Combine melted butter and crumbs and set aside.
Mix all the rest of the ingredients; add bacon and onions to mixture and combine.
Pour into pie shell and top with crumb mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes until filling is warmed through.
Cook's notes: A purchased pie crust will do okay here, but a crust made with lard will perfectly complement the savory aspect of the filling. You may also consider using flavored cracker crumbs for the topping, or even mixing in a touch of red pepper flakes. For a hearty vegetarian version, omit the bacon and reduce the onion to one half. Add two pounds of fresh mixed mushrooms; saute in 2 tablespoons butter and proceed with recipe.

adapted from Recipezaar's Arostook


Blogger sher said...

It looks delicious--and it's got bacon. And ricotta. So, I know it also tastes delicious. Yum!

7:23 PM  
Blogger MeBeth said...

That looks like the ultimate comfort food! Now I'm craving bacon. And ricotta. And pie.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Freya and Paul said...

Yummy, sounds like a sophisticated type of quiche but really simple too!

12:21 PM  

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