Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Torta

Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Torta is complicated, but good for a party or dinner club. Our friend, Carol H. made it for a Christmas Dinner Club many years ago and I made it for our extended family for Thanksgiving.

Ingredients

Pesto Layer

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly ground Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese, room temperature

Tomato Layer

  • 1 1/3 cups drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese, room temperature

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 2 cups cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • Salt and pepper

Garnish

  • Fresh basil sprigs
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Toasted baguette slices

Instructions

Pesto Layer

  1. Finely chop garlic in food processor. Add basil, pine nuts, oil and lemon juice. Process until well blended.
  2. Add cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. Using on/off turns, process until just blended. Transfer pesto to bowl.

Tomato Layer

  1. Coarsely chop tomatoes in processor. Add tomato paste and process until mixture is almost smooth.
  2. Add cream cheese and blend well. Transfer to bowl.

Cream Cheese Layer

  1. Process cream cheese and butter until fluffy.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.

Torta Preparation

  1. Spray 6 cup souffle dish with non-stick spray. Line with plastic wrap, extending plastic over sides.
  2. Spread 3/4 cup cream cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of prepared dish.
  3. Top with half of the tomato mixture.
  4. Top with 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture.
  5. Top with half of the pesto mixture.
  6. Repeat layers with: 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture, remaining tomato mixture, 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture and remaining pesto mixture. Top with remaining cream cheese mixture.
  7. Cover and chill overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Presentation

  1. Invert torta onto platter. Peel off plastic. Smooth outside of torta with a butter knife, if necessary. Garnish top with basil sprigs and toasted pine nuts.
  2. Serve on serving plate surrounded with toasted baguette slices.

Toasted Baguette Slices

  1. Place slices on ungreased cookie sheet under broiler for approximately 4 minutes each side.
  2. After removing them from broiler, brush top side with olive oil or spritz with oil from "Misto" sprayer.

Posted by GourmetGal at Kitchen Roundtable.

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