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Take Five Layered Pesto Torte & French Onion Soup - 12/19/2012

11:25 AM, Dec 19, 2012   |    comments
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Layered Pesto Torte

Ingredients

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
1 8ox pkg cream cheese, room temperature (about 21 ounces)
1 4oz log goat cheese
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

Directions
Finely chop garlic in processor. Add basil, 1/4 cup pine nuts, oil and lemon juice. Process until well blended. Add 1/3 cup cream cheese and 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. Add 1/3 cup cream cheese and blend well.
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.)
Invert torta onto platter. Peel off plastic. Garnish with basil sprigs and toasted pine nuts. Serve with baguette slices.

French Onion Soup
Ingredients
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter
• 4 large onions, sliced
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 fresh thyme sprigs
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
• 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 quarts beef broth
• 1 baguette, sliced
• 1/2 pound grated Gruyere
Directions
Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.
Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

Courtesy: Chef Eric Chaitin from Watermark Grille

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