One of my favorite things to make at this time of the year because of its festive colors and delicious flavor is an appetizer made with layers of sun-dried tomato and pesto fillings! The torta will serve a large crowd and can be made a few days in advance. It's a little tedious to assemble, but the results are worth it!
One torta (serves approx 24 as an appetizer)
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves (pack it in there!)
3 garlic cloves (use more if you luv garlic)
1/4 cup pine nuts (I have substituted walnuts!)
2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lime juice
24 ounces of cream cheese (at room temp - trust me on this one!)
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups of oil packed (drained!) sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup real butter (at room temp!)
1/2 cup goat cheese
Fresh basil, toasted pine nuts for garnish
Freshly toasted baguette slices
Finely chop basil and garlic in processor. Add nuts, oil and lime juice. Process until well blended. Add in 1/3 cup cream cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Pulse off/on for short periods, just until blended and transfer your pesto to a bowl.
Chop tomatoes in processor and then add tomato paste and process until almost smooth. Add 1/3 cup cream cheese and blend well. Set this mixture aside in another bowl.
Using a mixer, blend remaining cream cheese, butter and goat cheese in large bowl until fluffy and season to taste with salt and pepper. This will bee your base mixture for bottom, top and in between tomato and pesto layers!
Spray a large souffle dish with nonstick spray. Line it with plastic wrap making sure to extend the wrap over the sides of the dish. Spread 3/4 cup cream cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the dish. Top with half of tomato mixture, then 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture and then half of the pesto mixture. Repeat layers and top off with last remaining cream cheese mixture. Cover and chill overnight. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Invert your beeuutiful torta onto a platter. Peel off the plastic. Garnish with fresh basil, toasted pine nuts (or chopped walnuts) and enjoy with lightly toasted baguette slices or your bread of choice!
Make this and you will be the talk of the party! It is absolutely delicious!!
(adapted from Epicurious.com)