The slightly salted, creamy cheese goes well with the sweet-sour leeks.
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons superfine sugar (may substitute 2 tablespoons granulated sugar whizzed in a food processor until visibly finer)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 8 thin (with a diameter of no more than 3/4 inch) leeks, white and light-green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and rinsed well to remove any grit
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup whole or part-skim ricotta cheese
Position the top oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the top broiling element; preheat the broiler. Have a large gratin dish at hand that can hold the trimmed leeks in a single layer.
Heat the vinegar in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble, then stir in the sugar and water. When the mixture returns to a boil, add the leeks in a single layer, cut sides up. Once the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the leeks are tender. Drain, discarding the cooking liquid.
Use a wide spatula to transfer the leeks to the gratin dish. Sprinkle them evenly with the crushed red pepper flakes, then crumble pinches of the ricotta evenly over the top. Broil on the top oven rack for 3 to 5 minutes; the cheese will be softened and browned in spots.
Let sit for 2 minutes before serving.
Adapted from "Take Five Ingredients: 95 Delicious Dishes Using Just 5 Ingredients," by James Tanner (Kyle, 2011).
Tested by Dean Felten.
Email questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.