“….a quartetto are gathered around a heaped, just-turned-out molehill of ricotta.  Each has his or her spoon, one has got hold of a deep soup ladle, and they are caught red-handed, white-handed even, scooping great snowdrifts of cheese….”

-Laura Freeman, The Reading Cure: How Books Restored My Appetite


If you want to make this ahead of time the dressing and olives soaking in it ahead of time and then plate up at the last minute.

Perfect to scoop up with middle-eastern crackers as you sip your preprandial….

….or serve as a starter with hot, sourdough toast.


Recipe for ricotta with olives and thyme

Serves 2


  • 2 tbsps fruity olive oil
  • 2 tsps sherry vinegar
  • pinch Urfa pepper (or Aleppo pepper)
  • a couple of sprigs of thyme
  • 150g/5 oz ricotta – fresh is obviously ideal…and if you are super keen you can even make your own (post to come).
  • 30g/1 oz/about 12 good quality pitted black olives (not the sad type in brine – go for Crespo)


  1. Divide the ricotta between two small plates.
  2. Make a dressing of the olive oil, vinegar, and the Urfa pepper (or whatever you are using). Strip the thyme sprigs of the leaves (pulling backwards over the stalk).
  3. Cut the olives in half, add to the dressing. If you are making this ahead of time, you can just leave them there to soak. Keep everything at room temperature.
  4. Spoon dressing over the ricotta.


ricotta dip

The Ricotta Eaters, by Vincenzo Campi