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Lentil & Herbed Ricotta Stew Recipe

Craft this warming stew for those crisp spring evenings, including a from-scratch option for your ricotta topping.

| May/June 2019


Photo by StockFood/Claudia Timmann

Ricotta is a simple, forgiving tableau onto which you can easily showcase any of the herbs you have bursting in the garden. Use the suggestions below as guidelines for amounts and flavors. Consider fresh oregano, mint, or dill in addition to or in place of any below. Traditionally and technically speaking, ricotta is made from the whey byproduct of mozzarella cheesemaking, but this recipe is a quick and easy workaround that will get you nearly the same product if you choose to make the cheese yourself. Making homemade ricotta will add 2 hours to your cooking time, but it can sit in the fridge for up to 5 days, so it can be made ahead of time. While this meal is also delicious as cold leftovers, be sure to store the lentil stew and ricotta in separate containers in the fridge, lest they mix and become an unappetizing mush.

Yield: 4 servings.


For homemade ricotta (optional):

  • 1 quart organic whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 cups organic whole milk ricotta (if not homemade)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped chives
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 For stew:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cups dried lentils, rinsed and picked
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 carrots, chopped into
  • 1/4-inch-thick half-moons

 For garnish:

  • Fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt


Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto/Darwell

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