This might be the simplest, most delicious, and most crowd-pleasing appetizer you make. It takes no time to whip together, and the result is outstanding: a salty, sweet, tangy spread for all of your entertaining needs.

A platter of whipped ricotta with honey, olive oil, and pistachios.

Ricotta: A Love Story. Where to begin?

I spent much of my life thinking I disliked ricotta, thanks no doubt to my introduction to it: dining hall lasagna and stuffed shells, whose fillings left me considering it nothing more than a grainy, watery, flavorless paste.

Ina Garten and her recipe for homemade ricotta​​ showed me the light, revealing how creamy and fluffy the good stuff can be. And ​​Missy Robbins showed me​​ that whipping ricotta — blending it in a food processor until smooth — can transform it into an entirely different product altogether: a pipable purée, light and smooth, not unlike a creamy, savory frosting.

In recent weeks, Laura Vitale, with her recipe for whipped ricotta with honey and pistachios, has made me more smitten with the cheese than I ever imagined. The recipe comes from her latest book, At My Italian Table, and when I first made it, I spooned it onto a platter, then set it on the table while I went out back to grill some bread. When I returned, I found my son sitting in front of it with a spoon. When the bread arrived, the whole family went to town, and before long, it was gone.

In the recipe’s intro, Laura writes: “If you don’t feel like making dinner, whip up a batch of this instead and sit on your back porch with some mortadella, charred bread, a bowl of ruffled potato chips, and an ice-cold glass of wine or an Aperol spritz.”

Last night, I did nearly this, pairing the ricotta with Laura’s herby roasted tomatoes (see below) and a few olive oil-and-sea salt-topped pizzas. We opened a few tins of sardines and called dinner done. It was a dream, and the whole ensemble made me excited for the warmer months ahead, for arranging vegetables on platters, assembling giant salads, turning the oven off and the grill on, opening tins of fish and jars of olives… and, well, with a platter of creamy cheese by our sides, the possibilities feel endless!

PS: I think these 4-Ingredient Balsamic-Roasted Mini Peppers and this no-knead focaccia would be a perfect match for the creamy, dreamy whipped ricotta.

Whipped Ricotta, Step by Step

Gather your ingredients:

Ingredients to make whipped ricotta.

Crush the pistachios first…

A food processor with crushed pistacios inside.

… then transfer them to a bowl and without rinsing the food processor, add the ricotta, lemon zest, olive oil, and salt:

Rcotta, lemon zest, salt and olive oil, in a food processor.

Purée until smooth:

Whipped ricotta in a food processor.

Plop the whipped ricotta into the center of a platter:

A platter with a heap of whipped ricotta in the center, not yet spread to the edges.

Then use the back of a spoon to spread it, creating peaks and valleys to catch what will follow:

A platter spread with whipped ricotta.

Drizzle with olive oil:

A platter spread with whipped ricotta and drizzled with olive oil.

Then finish with honey and the chopped pistachios:

A platter of whipped ricotta with honey, olive oil, and pistachios on top.

Serve it aside grilled bread or dipper of choice:

A platter of whipped ricotta with honey, olive oil, and pistachios aside a bowl of bread.

Incidentally, I’ve also been making the herby, roasted tomatoes from At My Italian Table

A plate of roasted tomatoes.

… and I’ve been loving serving the two together:

Two platters: roasted tomatoes and whipped ricotta aside charred bread.

Both recipes come from Laura Vitale’s new book At My Italian Table:

At My Italian Table.
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A platter of whipped ricotta with honey, olive oil, and pistachios.

Insanely Delicious Whipped Ricotta


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Description

From Laura Vitale’s new book At My Italian Table:

I’ve made a few tiny changes: I didn’t have thyme the first time I made it, and we all loved it, so I’ve never made it with the thyme. I’m sure it would be a delicious addition here if you want to add it. I also have not made it with the garlic — the original recipe calls for such a small amount (1/2 of a small clove) and because I’ve been serving this aside the herby, roasted tomatoes from the same book, the recipe for which calls for a lot of garlic, I’ve left it out here.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup shelled, salted, roasted pistachios
  • 16 ounces whole milk ricotta (Calabro is my favorite brand)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal brand)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked, optional (I haven’t been adding the thyme, see notes above.)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • bread for serving — grilled, charred, olive-oil toasted, etc.

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Without washing the food processor, add the ricotta, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Zest the lemon into the food processor. Process until thick and creamy, about 1 minute. Taste. Add more salt to taste. (I have been adding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon more salt, but do taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.)
  3. Transfer the mixture to the center of a shallow serving platter. Use the back of a spoon to spread it out, creating peaks and valleys for the toppers to fall into.
  4. Drizzle the ricotta with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the honey. (Note: It will feel like a lot of honey. If you are worried about it being too sweet, you can start with 1 tablespoon; then add the remaining tablespoon if desired. I was worried about it being too sweet, but I have used the entire 2 tablespoons of honey both times, and I find it to be perfect.)
  5. Sprinkle with the pistachios — you may not need all of the pistachios initially, but keep them in a serving bowl nearby so you can re-garnish the ricotta as needed.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Food processor
  • Cuisine: American, Italian