I almost always lean towards a meat and cheese board as an appetizer when we have people over. I love that it's family-style grazing, with everyone leaning into each other and picking and choosing whatever they want from a big gorgeous board of different colors and textures. It feels refined and yet still casual and, of course, goes so well with wine or cocktails. But, as if anyone didn't already know, cheese is expensive. It's also really filling! So, lately, I've been loving subbing in this simple and delicious ricotta spread for the various cheeses. I had leftover cured meats to serve in this particular case, but I've also served it plenty of times just on its own with toasted bread or crostini.
The herbs and seasoning add such fresh flavor to this ricotta - people love it. And it's make-ahead friendly. It's so much friendlier on the wallet, too, and plays the role of refined and casual just as well.
Quick herbed ricotta spread
16 oz good ricotta (fresh if possible)
1 tsp good extra virgin olive oil
2 T finely chopped parsley, plus a bit for garnish
¼ cup finely chopped basil, plus a bit for garnish
1 green onion, white and light green parts, finely chopped
¼ tsp garlic powder, plus a little pinch
¼ tsp fine sea salt or more to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well and top with an extra sprinkling of parsley and basil, as well as a crack of pepper. Serve with good crostini, toasted bread, or crackers, or alongside other charcuterie components. Note: this can be made a day in advance and stored, covered, in the fridge. I like to pull it out a few minutes before serving to bring it closer to room temperature.