Prep1 hr 30 mins
I make this for a potlucks or parties, so often I assemble a tiny one in a mini-loaf pan for the two of us. If there are any leftovers, they go great on bagels. I sometimes take small disposable containers so people can take some home with them. If you want to use pre-made pesto, 3/4-1 cup should be enough for this dish. I usually serve it with assorted crackers, but it goes well on toasted baguette slices and mini-bagels too. It takes awhile to assemble, but cooking time is simply chilling time.
- 4 -6 cloves garlic
- 1 1⁄2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1⁄3 cup walnuts or 1⁄3 cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese or 3 (8 ounce) packages neufchatel cheese, softened
- 1⁄3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1⁄3 cups sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained (or the same amount of reconstituted dried tomatoes)
- 1⁄3 cup tomato paste
- 1⁄2 cup butter, softened
- kosher salt, to taste
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Finely chop garlic cloves in food processor; add basil, nuts, oil and lemon juice; Process until well blended; Add 1/3c cream cheese, all of parmesan cheese, and pulse until just blended; turn into a medium bowl and set aside.
- Coarsely chop tomatoes in food processor; add tomato paste and blend until mixture is almost smooth; add 1/3c cream cheese and blend well; transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix remaining softened cream cheese and butter until fluffy; season with salt and pepper.
- Spray 6c straight sided dish (such as a souffle dish or springform pan) with non-stick pan spray, line with plastic wrap (I line pan with at least two layers of it) allowing wrap to drape over the sides.
- Without worrying about keeping the layers perfect, spread 3/4c cream cheese/butter mixture evenly over prepared dish with a spoon dipped in hot water; top with half of the tomato mixture, then 1/2c of cream cheese mixture, then half the pesto mixture.
- Repeat layering with 1/2c cream cheese mixture, remaining tomato mixture, 1/2c cream cheese mixture, remaining pesto, then remaining cream cheese mixture; Cover and chill 6hrs or overnight.
- Invert torta onto serving platter, carefully peel away plastic wrap, and serve.