Savory Italian-Style Wisconsin Cheese Ball

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Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board recipe

3/4 cup pine nuts

2 cups (8 ounces) Asiago cheese, shredded

1/2 cup (2 ounces) Fontina cheese, shredded

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

4 ounces 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

Preheat oven to 375. 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.

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