Sweet Corn and Ricotta Sformato
Think of a sformato as a soufflé that requires no technique. This one is fluffy and rich at the same time. A cheesy base of ricotta, Parmesan and crème fraîche is combined with a double dose of corn: whole kernels and a purée. Lightness and rise comes from egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks and folded through right before cooking. Make sure your eaters are assembled at the table when you pull this out of the oven. It’s best eaten immediately, still puffed up and drizzled with crushed basil oil.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 6ears fresh corn, kernels removed (about 5 cups kernels), cobs discarded
- 2tablespoons flaky sea salt, plus more to taste
- 6tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2cups fresh ricotta
- ½cup heavy cream
- 2tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
- 1 ½cups grated Parmesan
- 4large eggs, whites and yolks separated
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- ⅓packed cup fresh basil leaves (about 20 leaves)
- 2tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
Step 1In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the corn kernels and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Transfer half the kernels to a food processor and purée with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer the corn kernels and puréed corn to a large bowl and let cool, about 30 minutes.
Step 2Heat the oven to 450 degrees. When the corn mixture has cooled, add the ricotta, heavy cream, crème fraîche, 1 cup Parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon salt; season to taste with more salt, if desired.
Step 3In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks on high speed, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the yolks into the ricotta mixture until combined then gently fold in the whites, working delicately to avoid deflating.
Step 4Rub the sides and crannies of a 6-by-10-inch oval or 8-by-8-inch square (or similar 2-inch-deep) baking dish with a knob of butter. Add 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, knocking it around the baking dish to coat the entire thing, then follow with a few grinds of pepper.
Step 5Pour the ricotta batter into the dish. Top with another 3 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake until the cheese has browned and the sformata has set in the center, 35 to 40 minutes.
Step 6Using a mortar and pestle, grind the basil with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt, then stir in the remaining 1/4 cup oil.
Step 7Just before serving, top the warm sformata with the remaining 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, drizzle with basil oil and serve.