roasted broccoli chilli and ricotta cake

As you all know I've long had a love affair with Ottolenghi. Following the publication of Sweet, I'm now transferring my affection to his co-author Helen Goh. Helen writes a weekly column which appears in Good Food and this is one of her recipes.

I like to make a meat-free meal each week. I love ricotta, parmesan and chilli and don't mind broccoli, so this recipe fitted the bill. The original recipe serves 6 so I downsized the recipe to fit into my favourite tin and it still made 4 serves. I roasted the broccoli the day before I made the cake and stored it in the fridge. 

The longer the cake was stored in the fridge, the more intense the flavours became. I found the chilli flavour very mild so I topped the cake with some hot sauce for an extra kick. The recipe has quite a few steps and when I remake it, as I'm sure I will, I'm going to see if I can streamline the process a little while maintaining all the flavours. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 16cm cake. The link to the original recipe which makes a 20cm cake can be found above. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Roasted broccoli, chilli and ricotta cake - serves 4
225g broccoli, florets and stems cut into 2-3cm pieces 
100 mls extra virgin olive oil 
2 tsp sea salt flakes 
freshly ground black pepper 
 cloves garlic, peeled, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced 
1 long, mild red chilli, thinly sliced 
1 small onion, peeled and grated 
1 lemon, zested 
3 eggs, lightly beaten 
30g parmesan, plus 1 tbsp extra for sprinkling, finely grated 
150g ricotta cheese 
90g self-raising flour 
salt and pepper 

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Line the base of a 16cm round spring-form cake tin with baking paper.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and blanch the broccoli for 1 minute. Drain the broccoli and transfer to a large oven tray and toss with 1 tbs of the extra virgin olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt flakes and a few turns of the pepper mill. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C. While the broccoli is roasting, pour the remaining olive oil (you should have about 75mls) in a small saucepan, add the garlic and half of the sliced chilli (the other half will be sprinkled over the cake before it goes into the oven), then place over low heat to infuse. When the garlic just begins to colour, about 10 minutes, remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Remember that the garlic will continue to cook off the stove, so don't allow it to get too brown before removing from the heat. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the roasted broccoli, grated onion and lemon zest. Add the eggs, the cooled infused olive oil and the grated parmesan, then crumble over the ricotta cheese and season with 1 tsp sea salt flakes. Add the flour and fold gently until just combined. Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin and use a small spatula to smooth the surface. Sprinkle over the 1 tablespoon of extra parmesan cheese and the remaining sliced chillies. 

Place into the oven for 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before releasing from the cake tin onto a serving plate. 

Tip: the cake is best served warm or at room temperature. It can also be wrapped in cooking foil and refrigerated for up to 3 days. I served the cake with a simple salad with chilli sauce on the side.

See you all again next week with my final travel post from Rome.

Bye for now,


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