Pistachio Basil Ricotta Spread with Honey


Pistachio Basil Ricotta Spread with Honey

There’s an insane amount of cheese in our fridge right now (best problem to have). Last week Lucas came home with teeny tiny half-wheel of fancy cheese and a box of crackers he’d picked up at the market on his way home from work. In our marriage, this gesture is the equivalent of bringing flowers and it’s a sure way to win my heart. Except after the few indulgent bites it took to finish it off, I immediately complained about the single serving-size of cheese he’d teased me with and we had to make an emergency trip for more cheese. He’d awoken the dormant cheeseaholic inside of me. You don’t want to see what will happen if you try taking this pistachio basil ricotta spread away from me.

While y’all are gaining your holiday weight in baked goods, I’m over here putting 10lbs of cheese straight to my hips.

Pistachio Basil Ricotta Spread

Last year, we went the whole nine yards and spent an entire day making homemade pork tamales for Christmas dinner. It was every bit worth the effort, but this year I could barely get my act together in time to finish my holiday shopping. Note: We draw names, which means I only had to buy for two people – Lucas and one other family member. It’s pathetic that I’m still not done.

Just in the same way I set last year’s tamale dinner plan on a whim, this year’s menu came together with a single text to mom. Basically we’re going the complete opposite direction of labor-intensive tamales with an appetizers-only Christmas potluck – an idea I picked up from Amanda, the inspirational gal behind Heartbeet Kitchen. We’ll have 16 family and friends over, with each person bringing a holiday appetizer to share. That’s SIXTEEN different bite-sized finger foods to snack on all day (and it’s not even the Superbowl). Also known as: my personal heaven. They’ll have to roll me to bed.

Herbed Pistachio Ricotta SpreadPistachio Ricotta Spread with Honey

Lucas and I will be making goat cheese stuffed figs with pancetta, spinach artichoke dip stuffed mushrooms, and this super easy pistachio basil ricotta spread over gluten-free cranberry oat crisp crackers with a drizzle of honey. An artisanal whole-milk ricotta gives the spread a smooth creamier texture than low-fat or part-skim ricotta. Mixed with a dollop of mascarpone to amplify the spread’s creaminess, these ricotta-topped bites are light and fresh, with a toasty pistachio crunch. Basil adds an herby savory note that simultaneously compliments the sweet honey drizzled over top.

Pistachio Herbed Ricotta CrackersHerbed Ricotta Spread with Pistachios

You can spread it on the crackers for a ready-made bite-sized appetizer or serve it in a bowl with a cheese spreader, a pile of crackers, and a bowl of honey on the side. Start to finish, this spread takes about 5 minutes to put together, which means you’ll have plenty of time to visit with family.  Or, you know, bake/eat more cookies.

In addition to cheese, here are the desserts I’ll be chowing down on for Christmas:

Wishing you a joyous and delicious holiday season! Thanks for testing my recipes, reading my stories, and leaving sweet notes – I wish I could have all of you over for our appetizers-only holiday dinner!

Pistachio Basil Ricotta Spread with Honey
Yields: About 1 cup spread
  • ¾ cup good-quality ricotta cheese (I used Bellwether Farms whole-milk ricotta)*
  • 1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ cup finely chopped toasted pistachios
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey, for drizzling
  • Crackers, for serving
  1. Mix the ricotta and mascarpone together in a mixing bowl with a fork until thoroughly combined and creamy.
  2. Fold in the pistachios and basil until evenly distributed.
  3. Spread over crackers or toasted baguette slices with a drizzle of honey. Or serve in a bowl with a knife and crackers on the side!
*Go with a higher-fat cow's whole-milk ricotta as it has a creamier smoother texture than low-fat or part-skim ricotta. If the latter is all you can find, try adding an extra tablespoon of mascarpone to give a bit more creaminess.

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  1. Haha! I love that your hubby brings you cheese—definitely more valuable in flowers in my mind too! LOL. This spread looks well, perfect. I am totally loving the addition of pistachios, basil and honey! This is seriously the only thing I want to chow down on tomorrow. :D

  2. While I could eat my weight in sweet baked treats, cheese also has a dear place in my heart!!! :) love love love this gorgeous pistachio basil ricotta spread!!! I must make this!!! and I’ve loved visiting with you here. . your blog is beautiful and inspiring and can’t wait to see what happens here in 2015!! Happy Christmas!

    • Thank you so much for your sweet words, Alice! Thank you so much for always coming back to my lil’ ole blog. Your comments are one of the reasons that I feel inspired to keep blogging – so thank YOU! (also – I DID eat my body weight in sweets…and cheese…and now my belt doesn’t fit…hahaha).

  3. Zaza says:

    Love this! That appetizer looks terrific! Can’t wait to make it for New Year’s Eve!
    Thanks for sharing this great recipe :)
    Happy holidays!

  4. Happy holidays to you Sarah! :)

  5. This spread looks and sounds incredible. I love the pistachio, basil, and ricotta combination. I have to make it! Happy holidays to you and your family!

  6. This is just the kind of spread I love to slather on crackers – and that honey drizzle pushes them right over the top. Yum!!!

  7. Appetizer-only potluck is a fantastic idea. So is this ricotta spread! Merry Christmas, Sarah!

  8. I love that you guys are doing an appetizer-only potluck! This ricotta spread would be a hit! I love the flavors in here! Have a wonderful Christmas and holiday!!:)

  9. Sarah! What a fantastic idea!! Not just for the holidays either. I love small bites because you could eat more of everything :) Your spread looks delicious and easy to make. Another recipe to try sometime! :)

  10. First thing first, “an insane amount of cheese” is not a problem, my lovely friend. But if you think it is, it can be easily solved by calling me (wink wink). You guys are such a cute couple; the fact that he chose cheese over flower for you just make me smile. :)

    Also, that was such a brilliant plan for Christmas (and every party). I am going to try it with my family.

    P.S. I love your idea of spread, Sarah, and your drizzling photo is insanely good. <3 <3 <3

    • Haha – I’m glad you agree. I’ve resorted to buying Marin French Cheese’s rounds at Costco because I go through it so fast;) You should totally come over for cheese sometime!! I’d love to get you out to the East Bay! Thank you so much, Pang!

  11. Agree that having too much cheese in the fridge is a good problem to have. This spread looks divine and I can’t wait to have guests over as an excuse to make it.

  12. Are you not supposed to comprise meals of just appetizers? Cause that’s silly. Everyone else is doing it wrong.

    (P.S. Next time you make tamales you just have to get sick on tamale day! That’s *my* special holiday tip!)

  13. Haha, I also have an insane amount of cheese in my fridge! I have GOT to try this! This sounds amazing!

  14. Girllll we have way too much in common. I mean, both struggled to get the gifts done and ready by Christmas? And ricotta spread?! I’ve been eating a spoonful here and there and keep wondering what I should make with it….I’m afraid I’ll be done by the time I decide! :P Great pairing of flavors, Sarah~I love that you use pistachio in so many recipe. <3333 Hope you're doing great, and happy start to your week!

    • Haha NICE! I love that we were in tune with our holidays (even though I’m over a week late to reading this comment!). I was just talking to my mom about how I was on such a pistachio kick during the holidays! Now if only I could grow them so I could avoid that hefty price tag. Hope you’re having a wonderful new year, Ellie!

  15. Jasmin says:

    Sixteen appetizers sounds unbelievably to me; just to taste each one and your belly is full. But I would sure want to try that one day, and pistachio, basil and ricotta mixed together – it would be one of my first choices among all sixteen snacks ;)

  16. SAME on cheese in our house! My stepdad’s family is from Wisconsin, and every year we get the hugest box of cheese. I’m talking like 20 cheeses. But I ain’t mad. My sister and I just stand by the refrigerator and taste test them all.
    Pinning this beautiful photoshoot right now!

  17. Amanda Paa says:

    oh my gosh, your menu sounds like it was a fantastic feast! isn’t the appetizer meal fun? (thanks for the shout-out :) i made hot reuben dip for ours, bringing a little of my scandinavian influence along! hope your holidays were fantastic. xo

    • I would love to hear about all of the other appetizers at your party! Hot rueben dip sounds like a winner to me. Let’s do Christmas Eve at your house and Christmas at my house next year, k? ;P

  18. Ugh, cheese is so good. I die every time I go to the Bi Rite market and ogle at all of the cheeses there. Also, you have one of those honey pourer utensils!! (I hate that I don’t know what they’re called). Is it worth getting?

    • Haha – I have no idea either. Part of me wants to call it a honey comb, but that’s just plain wrong. I think it’s just a honey dipper. To be honest, I just use it for photos;) I think it keeps a lot of the honey on the dipper, which is a bit frustrating. And it’s too big to keep inside of the jar.

  19. Julia says:

    YUP, cheese and booze is what is responsible for my holiday “layer” And I gotta admit, I’m thinking of keeping it ;) LOVE the herby nutty ricotta spread! Brilliant, sista!

  20. Too funny – my biggest plans for ringing in the New Year today is MAKING MY OWN RICOTTA! So excited! Also, how exciting am I?

    • How did it turn out?! We had to muster up some serious energy to get off the couch from our nap to visit our friends. Our motivation: two of our friends got married earlier in the day and would be out celebrating with Lucas’s friends!

  21. That’s the sweetest thing, that cheese = roses to you! My guy knows that dark chocolate goes over better than anything else, and if he brings home truffles, I’m bound to be happy for weeks. (Or cake donuts. Or chocolate cake. Or… Umm, anything with chocolate. Okay, I like chocolate. End of story.) But this gorgeous spread?? And those cute honey drizzling photos?? SO perfect! Pinned!

  22. Jenna says:

    I gained my fair share of Holiday weight in cookies too. This spread looks delicious and I love the pic of the honey being drizzled on the top.

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