Kale Pea & Ricotta Spread

When it comes to hosting, it’s always the appetizers that give me the most trouble. Let me explain my dilemma: while the main course is, by all accounts, the pièce de résistance of most any gathering, it’s the appetizers that help it shine. Their purpose is to whet guests’ appetites, tiding them over while the host puts the finishing touches on whatever dish is to come. A pre-dinner snack, if you will. So the biggest faux-pas an appetizer can make? Being too heavy or too easy to fill up on. (I’m alluding to my love-hate relationship with artichoke dip.) That’s why, when Elisa Marshall served this kale pea & ricotta spread at an intimate dinner in her NYC loft last month, I knew I’d found it: the perfect appetizer.

Maman’s Kale Pea & Ricotta Spread

The argument for its perfection is well-supported. Not only does this kale pea & ricotta spread present beautifully no matter how you plate it (I’m taking inspiration from Elisa’s garden-of-earthly-delights-in-a-glass arrangement), but it’s the perfect dipper for any crunchy, snappy crudités you’d like to serve. The individual champagne coupe glasses pictured give this kale pea & ricotta spread an elevated appeal, but trust: leftovers make for the perfect afternoon snack—enjoyed straight from the Tupperware. (I wouldn’t judge if you dive in with just a spoon.)

Thankfully, this is also one of those genius appetizers that makes the most of my favorite kitchen appliance: my beloved food processor. It does all the chopping and mixing for you—so all that’s left is to simply enjoy to your stomach’s content. (With room for the main course to spare.)

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Description

Fresh, creamy, and oh-so-green, this simple spread is the perfect way to add color to your table—and it’s the ideal addition to your favorite crudités.


  • 2 cups (80 grams) packed baby kale leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups (338 grams) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) frozen peas, thawed

  1. Make the kale, pea, and ricotta spread. In a food processor, combine the kale and garlic and process until very finely chopped, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl.
  2. In the food processor, combine the ricotta, lemon juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and pepper flakes and process until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the chopped kale mixture and the peas and pulse about 5 times, until the ingredients are well mixed and the spread is mostly smooth.

Reprinted with permission from Maman: The Cookbook by Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte with Lauren Salkeld. Copyright ©2021. Photographs by Linda Xiao. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House


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