Light, airy, cheesy with a peppercorn zing, this whipped ricotta spread whips up in 5 minutes with just a handful of ingredients. Elevate your crostini and dip appetizer with this paired with your favorite meat, cheese, and veggie boards!
This is one of those last-minute recipes you should always have in your back pocket for when you get unexpected company, your spouse forgets to tell you he invited folks over 20 minutes before they are due to arrive, or because you just want a seriously delicious (and easy) snack!
This recipe is always a crowd favorite and one that I tend to quadruple when I’m having guests over because it’s typically the one thing everyone eats.
What I love about this recipe is that it uses pretty basic fridge and pantry ingredients:
- Ricotta Cheese – in this recipe I only use whole milk. I prefer that type because it’s less watery. However, if you have low-fat, you can certainly use that. You just may want to amp up the cheese to make it as-thick and spreadable.
- Grated Parmesan
- Seasonings – just your basic dried oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and sea salt
- Peppercorns – I’m sure you have already black pepper but in this recipe, you want those pieces of peppercorns in the spread. I use pink because well, it’s pink and I like the flavor of it better in this dish.
Get your aggressions out
This meat mallet you see is called Thor. It looks super wicked and heavy but it’s made of cast aluminum which makes controlling how much it smashes a breeze. It just looks intimidating.
- To a plastic bag, add your peppercorns, remove the air and seal it up.
- On a cutting board (or a surface you know can handle you banging a meat mallet on), pound away (gently) to crack the peppercorns. I gave it about 8-10 whacks until I got the bits and pieces I wanted.
If you don’t have a mallet, you can always use a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have that either, place them in the bottom of a stainless steel pan (not non-stick) and then grab a smaller heavy pot and place it on top of the peppercorns in the pan. Using your weight, push down and rock the smaller pan back and forth over top the peppercorns.
- To a good processor, add the cheese, seasonings, crushed peppercorns and process until desired consistency. I like mine thicker but if you want it thinned out a bit, add some heavy cream and process to your liking.
Legit, this whole recipe took maybe 5 minutes to assemble and prepare. It took me longer to clean up the dirty dishes than it did to make it!
Transfer it to a bowl for serving. If not serving right away, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
Ways to Serve Whipped Parmesan Peppercorn Ricotta Spread
Folks honestly, you’re only limited by your imagination here. But here are some of my favorite ways:
- Crostini – slather on crostini topped with cheese, salami, and cucumber round
- Toast – spread this on toast topped with roasted tomatoes and cipollini onions
- Veggie Dip – if you’re using this for a dip, thin it out with a little bit of heavy cream
- Bagel sandwich – this with some roasted veggies is amazing!
How to make Crostini
- 1 12-14” long loaf of crusty Italian or French bread, sliced into 1/2” slices
- 3–5 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil
- 1 clove fresh garlic
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Slice the bread on an angle to get elongated slices. Brush one side lightly with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake the bread for 6-8 minutes or until the tops start to toast lightly. Remove from the oven, brush the other side with the remaining oil and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven when done and immediately brush the garlic clove over the warm bread.
- Cheese – you could go with another finely grated hard cheese
- Seasonings – pretty much anything is fair game, to be honest
- Italian – add sundried tomatoes, oregano, and about 2 Tbl of olive oil to the recipe
- Honey & Thyme – omit the cheese and add 1 Tablespoon honey and olive oil, 1 tsp minced garlic, 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, squeeze of lemon prior to serving
- Rosemary & Sea Salt – omit the cheese and add 1 1/2 olive oil, 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 2 teaspoons crushed pink peppercorns
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- Heaping 1/3 cup grated parmesan
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons peppercorns (pink/black/rainbow)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4–1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1–2 Tablespoon heavy cream *optional
- Place the peppercorns in a plastic bag, remove the air, and crush with a mallet. Alternatively, you can crush them in a mortar and pestle. *You’ll want to leave some bigger pieces for texture.
- To a food processor, add in the ricotta, cheese, seasonings, and crushed peppercorns. Process until smooth and combined. To thin it out, feel free to add in some heavy cream. I do not thin it out.
- Transfer to a serving dish and refrigerate any leftovers.
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