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Baked Ricotta Dip

We had a cookout the other night in celebration of the first weekend of the summer season and I wanted to try a new appetizer recipe.  Something that was quick and easy to make.  This one fit the bill.  As long as you have a container of ricotta in the refrigerator, some lemons, garlic and fresh herbs growing in your garden, you can whip this one up in seconds.  
We served this with Pita Chips for something lighter than baguettes.  Once it sat for awhile, I threw it back in the microwave to reheat it for late party guest (or our son who came upstairs from playing in the basement while appetizers were being served).

Baked Ricotta with Lemon, Garlic, & Chives

Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer
15 ounces (about 2 cups) whole milk ricotta
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 ounce fresh chives, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Small crackers or slices of baguette, to serve
Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 1/2- to 1-quart gratin dish or baking pan. 
Mix the ricotta, lemon juice and zest, garlic, chives, and salt, and a generous quantity of fresh black pepper. Spread in the baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate the ricotta overnight, if desired.) 
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until hot. Drizzle again with olive oil. Serve immediately with crackers for dipping. 

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