Festive Cheese Tortas

The colorful layers in this Italian-style appetizer will make it a hit at your holiday party.

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  • Makes: 8 servings
  • Yields: 3 tortas
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Festive Cheese Tortas
8 ounce cartons mascarpone cheese
ounces finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3/4 cup)
cup purchased basil pesto
cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and finely snipped
clove garlic, minced
teaspoon pepper
ounces provolone cheese, very thinly sliced
  1. Stir together one carton of the mascarpone cheese and the 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a medium mixing bowl; set aside.
  2. Stir together the basil pesto and half of the second carton of mascarpone cheese in a small mixing bowl; set aside.
  3. Stir together dried tomatoes, garlic, pepper, and remaining mascarpone cheese in a second small bowl; set aside.
  4. Line an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, extending excess over edges. Sprinkle pine nuts in a single layer in bottom of prepared pan.
  5. Drop about half of the Parmigiano-mascarpone mixture by small spoonfuls over the pine nuts; carefully press or spread over mixture. Layer with one-third of the provolone cheese, overlapping and trimming as necessary to fit. Top with pesto mixture. Top with another one-third of the provolone cheese as above.
  6. Drop the remaining Parmigiano-mascarpone mixture by spoonfuls over the provolone cheese, carefully pressing or spreading mixture. Add remaining provolone cheese. Spread the dried tomato mixture over all.
  7. Fold plastic wrap to cover loaf; gently press loaf down. Place a second 8x4x2-inch loaf pan on top, then place two 14- to 16-ounce cans in the second pan for weight. Chill loaf with weights in place several hours or overnight.
  8. Carefully invert loaf onto a cutting board. Gently cut torta crosswise into thirds using a sharp, thin-bladed knife. Wrap each third individually in plastic wrap. Makes 3 tortas (8 to 10 servings each).
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