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Savory Italian-Style Cheese Ball

Servings: Makes one 1-pound cheese ball*

Ingredients:

3/4 cup pine nuts
2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin asiago cheese, shredded
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin fontina cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Wisconsin parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
4 ounces Wisconsin cream cheese, cut in chunks and at room temperature
2 tablespoons prepared, refrigerated basil pesto
2 tablespoons half-and-half, if needed
1/4 cup marinated, sun-dried tomatoes, diced and dried well
Fresh basil, for garnish, if desired
Sun-dried tomatoes, slivered, for garnish, if desired
Crusty bread, Italian breadsticks, or crostini crackers

Cooking Directions:

Preheat oven to 375º. Spread pine nuts on baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes or until golden. (Check after 3 minutes and stir.) Pour onto waxed paper and cool.

Place asiago, fontina, parmesan and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor, and process until well blended. Add pesto (drain first if the pesto is runny). Pulse to incorporate. If mixture is too stiff, add half-and-half to reach desired consistency. Remove mixture to bowl and stir or work in tomatoes with your hands.

When ready to serve, shape cheese mixture into a ball. Roll in toasted pine nuts, pushing nuts into the ball, if necessary.

Garnish with fresh basil and slivers of sun-dried tomatoes.

Serve with crusty bread, Italian breadsticks or crostini crackers.

*Recipe can be doubled for larger cheese ball.

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