Mediterranean Pesto Torte
2 11-ounce packages goat cheese, softened
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
Artichoke Pesto (see below)
Dried Tomato Pesto (see below)
Marinated artichoke hearts and/or red sweet pepper strips (optional)
Baguette slices, toasted if desired; cucumber slices; or plain water crackers
In large bowl beat goat cheese, cream cheese and garlic with electric mixer on medium speed until mixture is smooth. To assemble, line 6- to 8-cup soufflé dish with plastic wrap. Spoon 1/3 of cheese mixture into bottom of dish, spreading evenly. Carefully lift cheese mixture with plastic wrap and transfer to baking sheet; wrap cheese mixture in plastic wrap. Repeat to make another layer. Line dish with additional plastic wrap so ends extend over sides by about 4-inches. Spoon in remaining 1/3 of cheese mixture, spreading evenly. Fold in ends of plastic wrap to cover cheese mixture. Chill all three layers for 1 hour. Uncover cheese mixture in dish and top with Artichoke Pesto. Add layer of cheese mixture, Dried Tomato Pesto and then remaining cheese mixture. Bring ends of plastic wrap over mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm. When ready to serve, unmold onto serving platter, removing plastic wrap. If desired, garnish with marinated artichoke hearts and/or red sweet pepper strips. Serve with baguette slices, cucumber slices or crackers. Makes 24 servings.
Artichoke Pesto: Combine one 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained; 2 cloves garlic; 1/4 cup packed fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves; 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted; and 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese in food processor. Cover and process to combine. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil; cover and process 3 to 4 more times. Add more oil if necessary until nearly smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Cover and chill up to 3 days.
Dried Tomato Pesto: Drain 1/2 cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, reserving oil. Add olive oil to equal 1/4 cup. In food processor combine drained (DRIED??) tomatoes (AND OIL??), 2 cloves garlic, 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves and 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Cover and process for 1 minute. With machine running add 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Process until thoroughly combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and process for another 30 seconds. Transfer to small bowl. Cover and chill up to 3 days.
Diva do-ahead: Torte can remain refrigerated for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 6 weeks. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours. Let torte stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.