Thursday, February 3, 2011

Recipe for Sharing: Torta di Formaggio & Smoked Salmon and Caviar Pie

I am sharing with you the recipes I used for the canapes I served during New Year's Eve

The Cheese Torta which was present during my Italian-themed dinner last year is also good for food gift items. The recipe can be halved and put into smaller containers to accommodate several friends.  Trust me, this is one gift that won't get bounced around, it is that good!  It is ideally served as a spread, but I have also used it as a topping for a pasta salad.  You simply cannot do wrong with this recipe.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Torta di Formaggio / Cheese Torta 
4 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 cups cream cheese, room temperature (about 2 bars)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/3 cups drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

1/3 cup tomato paste

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Fresh basil sprigs

Toasted pine nuts

Baguette slices, toasted

Finely chop garlic in processor. Add basil, 1/4 cup pine nuts, oil and lemon juice. Process until well blended. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Using on/off turns, process just until blended. Transfer pesto to medium bowl.
Coarsely chop tomatoes in processor. Add tomato paste and process until mixture is almost smooth.
Using electric mixer, beat 2 cups cream cheese and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Season with salt and pepper.

Spray 6-cup soufflé dish with nonstick spray. Line with plastic wrap, extending plastic over sides. Spread 3/4 cup cream cheese-butter mixture evenly over bottom of prepared dish. Top with half of tomato mixture, then 1/2 cup cream cheese-butter mixture, then half of pesto mixture. Repeat layering with 1/2 cup cream cheese-butter mixture, remaining tomato mixture, 1/2 cup cream cheese-butter mixture and remaining pesto. Top with remaining cream cheese-butter mixture. Cover and chill overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
To serve, invert torta onto platter. Peel off plastic. Garnish with basil sprigs and toasted pine nuts. Serve with baguette slices.

    SMOKED SALMON AND CAVIAR PIE

    INGREDIENTS:
    4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
    2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    1 cup minced sweet onion
    6 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup sour cream
    3 1/2 pounds black lumpfish roe
    2 lemons - cut into wedges, for garnish
    3 sprigs parsley, for garnish

    Line an 8 inch roun container with cling wrap or parchment paper and set aside. Stir together the hard-cooked eggs and mayonnaise. Evenly spread into the bottom of the container, and sprinkle the minced onion overtop. Stir together cream cheese and sour cream until smooth, and spread over the onion layer. Cover and chill at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.

    Once completely chilled, unwrap the container and invert the pie to a serving plate.  Spread the lumpfish roe overtop. Run a knife around the edge of the pie, then remove the side of the springform pan. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs before serving.

    Enjoy!


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