PESTO AND SUN-DRIED CHEESE TORTA

We tested this for the Italian Dinners 1-2-3 cookbook (Clarkson N. Potter) and it received RAVE reviews when served at our Christmas party a few years ago. This one layers creamy cheeses, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s splendiferous! Make it a day ahead so that the cheese has time to set. This requires more effort than the others do — but your guests will let you know it was worth the effort.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 pounds marscarpone or cream cheese
  • 6 ounces Montrachet goat cheese (without ash), softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups basil pesto
  • 1 7-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained and minced
  • 1/3 cup pistachio nuts toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Toasted, thinly sliced baguette rounds, or crackers

In a food processor, combine the marscapone or cream cheese, goat cheese and butter until smooth. Line a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan with waxed paper and layer the ingredients into the pan this way: 1/7 of the cheese mixture, topped by 1/3 of the pesto; another 1/7 of the cheese mixture topped by 1/3 of the sun-dried tomatoes. Repeat twice, ending with the cheese mixture. Top with the toasted pistachio nuts.

Cover with waxed paper, and press down firmly. Refrigerate overnight. To Unfold, remove the waxed paper, overturn onto a serving plate and remove the second piece of waxed paper. Serve at room temperature with baguette rounds, or crackers.

Serves 15-20

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