Two things you should know about me: 1) since I taught myself how to make fresh ricotta last summer, I've become an addict of sorts, and am always looking for new ways to use it; 2) I love hot, hearty breakfasts—perhaps I was a lumberjack in a previous life? Anyway, this savory oatmeal is a very comforting and filling way to start the day. You can make it in a larger casserole and run it under the broiler to let the cheese get golden for a brunch dish that'll likely become a legend. You'll have extra cooked oats leftover, so store them in a covered container in the fridge and reheat as needed in the microwave until warmed through. Oh, and one last note—it's baby approved. My 21 month old and I vied for the last spoonfuls while curled up on the couch watching Sesame Street. —Jennifer Perillo
To make the oats, bring water to a boil in a deep pot. Add oats and salt, and cook until they begin to thicken. Reduce to a simmer, and continue cooking, uncovered, until grains are slightly tender and water has mostly absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pot and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Saute until they begin to soften and become golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in molasses, and a touch more olive oil if necessary. Cover skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, until onions are very tender, about 10 more minutes.
Divide the cooked oatmeal among two bowls. Top with equal amounts of caramelized onions and fresh ricotta. Stir together with your spoon before digging in.
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and FoodNetwork.com. She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).