This is an incredible cheese spread. With the red of the sun-dried tomatoes and the green of the pesto, it makes for a beautiful Christmas appetizer. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and sprigs of basil. Serve with crackers.
INGREDIENTS (for 5 servings):
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 2/3 cups softened cream cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/3 cups sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 3/4 cup butter
- salt and pepper to taste
Chop the garlic in a food processor. Mix in basil, lemon juice, pine nuts and olive oil. Process until well blended. Mix in 1/3 cup cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. Blend using pulse setting until almost smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
Coarsely chop sun-dried tomatoes in the food processor. Mix in tomato paste and 1/3 cup cream cheese. Blend until smooth.
Place 2 cups cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until fluffy. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Line dish with plastic wrap so that the wrap extends over sides of the dish.
Evenly spread 3/4 cup cream cheese and butter mixture in the prepared dish. Layer alternately with 1/2 the sun-dried tomato mixture, 1/2 cup cream cheese and butter mixture and 1/2 the pesto mixture. Repeat layering, topping with remaining cream cheese and butter mixture. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight.
Carefully invert dish onto a platter and remove plastic to serve.