It’s time for another no-recipe recipe that is so much more than the sum of its (5-ingredient) parts. This one is a triple-threat combo of Instagram-gorgeous, mouthwateringly delicious, and so easy it comes together in just 5 minutes. Meet my simple Ricotta Board with Pears and Honey-Toasted Pistachios. Creamy ricotta is spread across a serving board, then topped with sliced winter pear, chopped honey-roasted pistachios (or hazelnuts, or almonds), a sprinkle of mint, and a drizzle of honey. Let’s get into it.
While most of us quickly tired of the butter board trend, I’m a believer that the ricotta board is here to stay. For me, a tub of high-quality whole milk ricotta is the little black dress of your cheese drawer—it works for any occasion and always feels elegant. And if you don’t have any ricotta on hand, it’s almost just as easy to make your own with just milk, cream, salt, and lemon juice.
I actually started making some version of this appetizer a couple summers ago at our beach house. I’d come home from the farm stand with more peaches, persimmons, and tomatoes than I knew what to do with, so we’d slice it up, add a handful of herbs and some EVOO, then serve with creamy ricotta and some grilled sourdough. (Note that this also works really well with burrata.) For this version, I winterized the winning combo with sliced pears and honeyed pistachios, and let’s just say we devoured this in record time.
Here’s how to make my ricotta board with pears and honeyed pistachios…
Prepare the ricotta
It’s essential that you use the highest quality whole milk ricotta that you can find. You want it creamy and luscious, and if all you can find is the low-fat variety in the dairy aisle, then well, you’d be better off making your own. (I promise, it’s easy!)
The first step is transferring your ricotta to a small mixing bowl, seasoning well with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and sometimes I add a little honey if I want more sweetness. Then, take a fork or a whisk and mix vigorously to lighten it up and make the ricotta spreadable.
Spread it on the board
Feel free to get a little artistic here. I start by dolloping the ricotta evenly around my handcrafted wood serving board, leaving a border of an inch or two. Then I use the back of a spoon to spread it around so that it’s evenly distributed, but with some pretty swirls and texture.
Add pears and pistachios
I slice up my firm-but-ripe pear, and fan out the slices in an aesthetic way over the cheese. What type of pear is best? I like any firm winter pears (red or green) that have a natural sweetness—Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, or Seckel all work great.
Then, I add chopped honeyed pistachios for that satisfying crunch that is essential to this board. With a recipe this simple, we’re really going for all the different textures to make this feel interesting and multi-layered. I actually bought Honey-Roasted Pistachios to make it really easy on myself, but you could caramelize your own pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, or almonds and swap them in here.
Add your final toppings
My finishing touches on this ricotta board included fresh mint leaves, and drizzles of extra-virgin olive oil and honey. Plus a pinch of flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper, of course. Serve with warm baguette slices for scooping up, and you’ve got what just might be the world’s most perfect appetizer. Or at least, it’s the one I’ll be making for the foreseeable future.
Scroll on for the recipe, and if you make this, be sure to rate and review below.
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 firm-but-ripe pear, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup honey-roasted (or regular) pistachios, chopped
- extra-virgin olive oil
- for serving: warm baguette slices
- Transfer your ricotta to a small mixing bowl, seasoning well with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. With a fork or a whisk, mix vigorously to lighten it up and make the ricotta spreadable.
- Dollop the ricotta evenly onto your serving board, leaving a border of an inch or two. Use the back of a spoon to spread it around so that it's evenly distributed, but with some pretty swirls and texture.
- Fan out the pear slices over the ricotta, then sprinkle the pistachios on top.
- Scatter mint leaves over, then drizzle a little olive oil and honey. Add a pinch of flaky salt and pepper.
- Serve with warm baguette slices for scooping up.
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