Sformato di ricotta (Baked ricotta with herbs)

Sformato is an Italian baked dish usually made with vegetables and eggs and similar to a soufflé. It can be cooked in a mould and turned out to serve. This version has ricotta as the base and is quite a delicate dish and quick to make. It is lovely for lunch or as a light main course, especially for vegetarians. The recipe is based on one from The River Café Cookbook.

The sformato is particularly tasty when served with oven-baked cherry tomatoes. They can be cooked in the oven at the same time.

Photography by Sophie Harper

Serves 6


  • 2 handfuls (50g) of basil leaves
  • 1 handful (25g) of mint
  • 1 handful (25g) flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 500g ricotta cheese, drained
  • 4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche, light sour cream or cream
  • 100g freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • extra-virgin olive oil

To serve

  • oven-baked cherry tomatoes
  • rocket and basil leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C regular or 160C fan. Rub olive oil or butter around an oval, rectangular or 25cm round baking dish and dust with grated parmesan or dried breadcrumbs.
  2. Wash the herbs and pat dry with a towel. Run a knife through them first and then chop in the food processor or cut finely by hand.
  3. Add the ricotta, eggs and seasoning to the food processor and mix together. Add most of the parmesan (keep some back to sprinkle on top) and the crème fraiche or cream and pulse briefly to mix. Alternatively, it can be mixed together by hand.
  4. Tip the mixture into the prepared dish and pour a little extra-virgin olive oil on top and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve with oven-baked cherry tomatoes, rocket and basil leaves dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and crusty bread.




Oven-baked cherry tomatoes


  • 500g trussed cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C regular or 160C fan. Make a little cut in each tomato to prevent them bursting and place on an oven tray. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. If using loose tomatoes, give them a toss.
  2. Bake the tomatoes in the oven for about 30 minutes. Arrange them on a plate and sprinkle with balsamic if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.



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