These beet and ricotta tortes are not complicated to put together but they make a very festive first course for a special holiday dinner such as Christmas or new Year. You can prep all the ingredients, refrigerate them and assemble the tortes just before serving. Assembling each torte takes about 2 minutes and for that reason I like to serve them at small dinner parties for up to 6 guests. As these tortes are vegetarian and very light, they can be a great start to a rich in protein meal. For this recipe I use my homemade Macadamia Pesto sauce and Homemade Ricotta, but of course using good quality store bought alternatives will give you great results as well.
6 large beets
6 tsp of pesto sauce
6 tsp of capers
Sea salt or Himalayan salt
Ingredients for the ricotta sauce:
6 Tbs ricotta cheese
2 tsp of plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
15 drops of tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Peel and boil the beets until a knife goes though without resistance, about 25 min. Drain the water and let them cool completely.
Make the Ricotta sauce: In a small bowl mix together the ricotta , yogurt, garlic, tabasco, salt and pepper and set aside. If the ricotta you are using is rather dry, the yogurt will help achieve a creamier consistency. If your ricotta is creamy enough simply omit the yogurt.
To assemble the tortes, start by placing a teaspoonful of pesto sauce in the center of each one of the six salad plates and press the sauce down with a circular movement to create a bed for each torte.
Slice the beets in 3 or 4 equal discs each about 1/4 inch thick and using a star shaped cookie cutter cut through to shape the stars. Sprinkle the beet stars with salt.
Assemble the tortes on a cutting board before transferring them to the plates. Spoon 1/2 tsp of the ricotta sauce over the first beet star, carefully top it with a second beet star and repeat.
Transfer the tort to the serving dish by lifting it carefully with a sharp knife. Place it over the pesto sauce. Put a couple of capers on top of the tort and sprinkle with some pink salt or sea salt to finish.
Decorate with chives and basil leaves.
Wine suggestions: Goes well with dry white wines, Sauvignon Blanc or light Gamay-based reds.