If you ask us, summer is by far the best time of the year for entertaining. With barbecues, picnics, and countless evenings of dining al fresco on the horizon, we're always on the lookout for new recipes that will please a crowd. It always helps if they're easy to make, too.
When it comes to simple yet popular dishes, who doesn't love a good dip? For one, they're super easy to make: throw everything together, mix it up, and voila! They're also versatile in that you can pretty much make a dip out of anything. Plus, there are so many options to serve them with: chips, breads, veggies—the possibilities are endless. We recently came across a dip recipe made from ricotta cheese, combined with an assortment of herbs, and served with summer veggies, and we can guarantee this hors d'oeuvre will be a crowd favorite.
The recipe comes from the cookbook, Plenty: Good, Uncomplicated Food ($17, amazon.com), from James Beard Award-winning author Diana Henry. The book features a whopping 300 recipes that show us how to spend less and waste less, while still eating well. You don't always have to spend a fortune and spend hours slaving away in the kitchen to make a delicious dish.
Pro tip: go for fresh ricotta instead of the kind in tubs. It can be hard to find, "but the stuff sold in tubs in the supermarket just doesn’t cut it here," says Henry. She suggests visiting an Italian deli or cheese shop. Read below for the full recipe!
1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
1 garlic clove, crushed or grated
1 tablespoon fresh chives, snipped
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus a good squeeze of lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
salt and pepper, to serve
How to Make It
Mash the ricotta together with all the other ingredients, cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to mingle (it needs at least an hour). Bring it out before you want to serve it to allow it to get to room temperature.
Divide the ricotta among four to six plates (or put in a bowl or mound on a wooden board and surround with the vegetables and olives).
If it’s early in the season and the fava beans are young, serve them shelled but not cooked. If it’s a little later, cook the shelled beans until tender and slip them out of their skins so you can see their beautiful color. Arrange the vegetables and olives beside the ricotta and drizzle olive oil over everything. Serve with toasted ciabatta.
Suggested vegetables to dip:
Raw fava beans
French breakfast radishes with fresh, perky leaves
Trimmed baby carrots
Trimmed cherry tomatoes
High-quality black olives
Toasted ciabatta, to serve
From Plenty by Diana Henry
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