Sunday, March 29, 2009

Layered Sun dried Tomato and Basil Spread

Prep: 25 min., Chill: 8 hrs. Make this recipe up to 3 days before the party.

Makes 20 servings
* 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
* 3/4 cup butter, softened
* 1 teaspoon salt, divided
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1 1/3 cups sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
* 2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened and divided
* 1/3 cup tomato paste
* 4 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil
* 1/4 cup pine nuts
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* Vegetable cooking spray
* Garnishes: fresh rosemary sprigs, sun-dried tomatoes
* Crackers or baguette slices

Beat 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Set aside.

Process dried tomatoes in a food processor until chopped. Add 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, tomato paste, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Spoon into a bowl, and set aside. Wipe container of food processor clean.

Process garlic and next 4 ingredients in food processor until chopped. Add Parmesan cheese, remaining 3-ounce package cream cheese, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; pulse just until blended, stopping to scrape down sides.

Spray a 6-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup butter mixture evenly on bottom of springform pan. Layer with half of tomato mixture, 1/2 cup butter mixture, and half of basil mixture; top with 1/2 cup butter mixture. Repeat layers with remaining tomato mixture, 1/2 cup butter mixture, and remaining basil mixture. Top with remaining butter mixture. Cover with plastic wrap; chill at least 8 hours.

Run a knife gently around edge of pan to loosen sides. Remove sides of pan; carefully remove bottom of pan, and place layered spread on a serving tray. Garnish, if desired. Serve with crackers or baguette slices.

recipes by:Brenda Dills, Charlotte, North Carolina, Southern Living


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