I made this yummy and festive appetizer for my grandparents who are in town and who I cooked for for the first time last night! As a note, you will need cheesecloth for this dish. Tri-colored peppercorns look like Christmas ornaments on this cheese log, or rotolo.
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tub prepared pesto
3 tablespoons tri-color peppercorns
Beat the cream cheese and ricotta with a mixer at medium speed until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Prepare a 2-layer rectangle of cheesecloth, about 11 by 14 inches, and set on a tray or baking sheet. Spread the cheese mixture onto the cheesecloth, making a rectangle about 9 by 12 inches. Tidy the edges by pressing in from the sides with the flat edge of a table knife. Refrigerate, lightly covered with a piece of plastic wrap, for at least 3 hours.
Remove the cheese rectangle from the refrigerator and spread the pesto on top to within 1/2 inch of the edges.
Lifting the cheesecloth from one of the longer ends, roll it up as you would a jelly roll, lifting away from the cheesecloth as you go and using it to help form an even, compact cylinder. Lay out a fresh piece of double layered cheesecloth, then take the rotolo from its cheesecloth and set it on the fresh cheesecloth. Put the peppercorns in a resealable plastic bag, seal it (with most of the air extracted), and then use a mallet or the bottom of a small saucepan to coarsely crush the peppercorns. I simply used one of the peppercorn grinders you can buy at the grocery that has a coarse setting to save time during this step. Sprinkle the cracked peppercorns over the rotolo, covering the surface as evenly as possible, using the cheesecloth to help roll the cylinder of cheese slightly to cover the sides and bottom. Roll the rotolo up in the cheesecloth, and set it seam-side down on a tray or baking sheet. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
Serve with an assortment of crackers, bread, or fresh vegetables.