This spread features a bright, slightly addictive flavor combination. The recipe can be cut in half or doubled easily. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature with tortilla chips, especially chocolate tortilla chips from FoodShouldTasteGood. (They are available at Whole Foods Markets.)
Make Ahead: The spread can be assembled, except for the almonds, up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate in an airtight container. Toast the almonds, cool them and add to the spread up to 30 minutes before serving.
Servings: 2 pints
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 to 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (enough for 1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 cup white wine, such as a Riesling
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
- 1 cup dried unsulphured unsweetened apricots, cut into small dice
- 3 cups whole-milk or goat-cheese ricotta
- 2 tablespoons chopped or snipped chives
- 2 to 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup Marcona almonds, toasted (and coarsely chopped, if desired; see NOTE)
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until softened. Add the wine, water, crushed red pepper flakes, sugar and vanilla beans; stir to combine, and increase the heat to medium. Add the apricots and stir to incorporate. After the mixture starts to bubble at the edges, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the liquid has achieved a syrupy consistency.
Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, chives, salt and black pepper in a medium bowl; mix well. At this point, the toasted almonds can be added; reserve them if the spread is being made in advance. (Stir them in shortly before serving.)
Use a slotted spoon or strainer to retrieve just the apricot pieces from their cooking liquid (discard the liquid or strain and reserve for another use, if desired). Add the apricots to the ricotta mixture and mix well. Serve, or cover tightly and refrigerate.
Adapted from a recipe by executive chef Chris Siverson of the Grazier Group, a restaurant and catering business in New York.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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