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Hi there! I’m Matt, one of Katie’s oldest friends and I’m obsessed with food. I write a blog about food, sustainable agriculture, and food policy called Green Eats Blog, and I’m excited to be starting a new column here at Love Is Everywhere called Love at First Bite. I’ll share recipes and tips for easy, healthy dishes that even a kitchen novice could make. Check back most Wednesdays for a new recipe!
This was by far the most popular appetizer that I served at my recent wedding (yes, I catered my own wedding, I know I’m nuts). The recipe could not be simpler, all it takes is a little time to assemble the layers and a food processor to blend the ingredients. Everyone who entertains should keep a copy of this recipe on hand! This tastes better after it has had time to sit, so I would recommend making it at least one day ahead, but preferably two or even three.
Sun-Dried Tomato & Pesto Torta
● 4 tbsp pesto (store-bought or homemade)
● 2 2/3 cups cream cheese (room temp)
● 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
● 1 1/3 cups drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
● 1/3 cup tomato paste
● 3/4 cup butter (room temp)
● fresh basil sprigs (optional)
● toasted pine nuts (optional)
● toasted baguette slices
● Nonstick vegetable oil spray
● plastic wrap
● 6-cup souffle dish (or similar-sized, straight edge dish)
1. Add 1/3 cup cream cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 4 tbsp pesto to food processor. Using on/off turns, process just until blended. Transfer to medium bowl and set aside.
2. Coarsely chop tomatoes in processor. Add tomato paste and process until mixture is almost smooth. Add 1/3 cup cream cheese and blend well.
3. Using electric mixer, beat 2 cups cream cheese and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Spray 6-cup soufflé dish with nonstick spray. Line with plastic wrap, extending plastic over sides. Spread 3/4 cup cream cheese-butter mixture evenly over bottom of prepared dish. Top with half of tomato mixture, then 1/2 cup cream cheese-butter mixture, then half of pesto mixture. Repeat layering with 1/2 cup cream cheese-butter mixture, remaining tomato mixture, 1/2 cup cream cheese-butter mixture and remaining pesto. Top with remaining cream cheese-butter mixture. Cover and chill overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
5. Invert torta onto platter. Peel off plastic. Garnish with basil sprigs and toasted pine nuts. Serve with baguette slices.