Basil Cheese Torta With Red Bell Pepper Strips & Pine Nuts Recipe

Step 1

Mix cream cheese and butter with a fork; add pesto and mix well.

Step 2

Line a small (3-cup) loaf pan or bowl with plastic wrap, leaving several inches of overhang on each side. Make a thin layer of provolone slices on the bottom and partially up the sides.

Step 3

Spread 1/3 of the pesto mixture over the cheese; artistically arrange 2 or 3 sun-dried tomatoes, 4-6 bell pepper strips, and about 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts over the pesto.

Step 4

Repeat layers until all ingredients are used (reserving some of the pine nuts to sprinkle on top), pressing down well between layers. Chill overnight or for several days.

Step 5

Serve at room temperature on a platter wreathed with fresh basil sprigs. Additional toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes cut into flowers, red bell pepper strips, and fresh basil sprigs may be used as garnish.

NOTE: Torta may be presented inverted or not. Keeps several weeks refrigerated. Although best served at room temperature, it slices best chilled. I like to serve it on a platter adorned with grape leaves and small clusters of red and white grapes.

VARIATIONS:

Use lemon pesto; substitute slivered toasted almonds for the pine nuts; omit the sun-dried tomatoes and add 1 teaspoon lemon zest to the cream cheese mixture.

Use purple pesto; omit the red pepper if desired and increase the sun-dried tomatoes.

Use cinnamon basil pesto; omit the sun-dried tomatoes and the red peppers if desired, and use pecans instead of pine nuts.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2lb Cream cheese; softened
  • 4tb Butter; softened
  • 3/4c Basil pesto
  • 1/2lb Provolone, thinly sliced
  • 1/4c Toasted pine nuts
  • 1 Red bell pepper; roasted,
  • -- peeled, seeded, and
  • -- cut into 3" x 3/8" strips
  • 1sm Jar sun-dried tomatoes
  • -- (packed in olive oil)
  • Fresh basil for garnish

About this Author

iChef.com - Recipes, food and cooking information.