This is one of those appetizers that people will ask for over and over again. Hearty and colorful, this grazing board comes together quickly once you’ve heated the meatballs and ravioli.
Armanino Gourmet Beef Meatballs
Armanino Tri Color Cheese Tortellini
crusty bread, cut into 1” cubes
vegetables of choice, raw or blanched/fully cooked if needed
1 ¼ cups whole milk
8 oz whole milk mozzarella cheese, grated (do not use pre-grated cheese)
8 oz fontina cheese, grated
6 tbsp grated parmesan
⅛ tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
3 tbsp Armanino Pesto Sauce, plus more for serving
For the meatballs: place in a single layer on a foil or parchment paper lined sheet pan and bake at 375°F for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through.
For the tortellini: cook in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and spread on a sheet pan or plate in a single layer to cool.
For the vegetables: cut into bite size pieces and serve raw or blanch/fully cook in salted boiling water as needed. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into ice water to stop cooking and preserve the color. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.
In a large bowl, combine the three cheeses. Set aside.
Pour the milk into the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Reduce the heat to low and add the cheeses, a handful at a time, stirring slowly. Stir until the cheese is melted and smooth before adding the next handful. Go slowly and do not let boil. This will take a little time to do properly.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and wine.
While stirring, slowly pour wine/cornstarch mixture into saucepan and continue to cook on low until thickened.
Stir in the pepper and pesto. Taste and add a pinch or two of salt if needed.
Transfer to a fondue pot to keep warm and drizzle a little extra pesto on top. Try to keep the heat on medium low – the fondue should simmer; never boil.
Serve immediately, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, with the prepared dippers and additional pesto sauce. If your heat source is not hot enough to maintain a smooth creamy, dippable texture, gently rewarm the fondue over low heat on the stove.
If you have a heavy cast iron type fondue pot you can make the fondue directly on the stovetop in this pot. If you have the thinner type of fondue pot, make the sauce in a separate saucepan and transfer to the fondue pot to serve.
Some fondue sets are heated with small candles. This will likely not put off enough heat to keep the fondue warm and gooey. If this happens, gently rewarm the fondue on the stove and carry on.
So many things are great dipped in melted cheese – any vegetable but especially broccoli, peppers, small bite size potatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and mushrooms. Blanch or cook firmer vegetables in boiling salted water for a few minutes until tender. Proteins like cooked steak, chicken, pork tenderloin, sausage, salami or shrimp are great too. Sturdy fruit like apples and pears are wonderful as are all sorts of breads. It’s a party – prepare as many or as few as you like.
For a spin on a caprese salad, stir in a tablespoon of finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes with the pesto.