Savory Italian-Style Cheese Ball
Serve this tasty asiago, fontina and Parmesan cheese ball with crusty bread, Italian breadsticks, crostini or crackers.
3/4 cup pine nuts
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded Asiago cheese
2 ounces (1/2 cup) shredded Fontina cheese
1 tablespoon shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, cut in chunks and at room temperature
2 tablespoons prepared, refrigerated basil pesto
2 tablespoons half-and-half, if needed
1/4 cup marinated, sun-dried tomatoes, diced and dried well
Fresh basil, for garnish, if desired
Sun-dried tomatoes, slivered, for garnish, if desired
Crusty bread, Italian breadsticks, or crostini crackers for accompaniment
- Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
- Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes or until golden. (Check after 3 minutes and stir.) Pour onto waxed paper and cool.
- Place the four cheeses into the bowl of a food processor, and process until well-blended. Add the pesto (drain first if the pesto is runny). Pulse to incorporate. If the mixture is too stiff, add half-and-half to reach the desired consistency. Remove the mixture to a bowl and stir or work in the tomatoes with your hands.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Shape the cheese mixture into a ball. Roll the ball in the toasted pine nuts, pushing the nuts into the ball, if necessary. Garnish with fresh basil and slivers of sun-dried tomatoes.
- Serve with crusty bread, Italian breadsticks, crostini or crackers.
Makes 25 to 30 appetizer servings.
Recipe provided courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.