Adapted from Above and Beyond Parsley: Food for the Senses by The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri
I once made this for one of Walter's birthday parties, and Marsha took one bite, thought for a second, and looked at me and said, "Cream cheese AND butter?" So I guess you can imagine how good this is.
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
Ingredients for Pesto
¼ cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh spinach, tightly packed
1 cup fresh basil, tightly packed
½ cup fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt or less
½ cup best-quality olive oil
¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
Beat softened cream cheese and softened butter with a spoon until smooth.
To Make Pesto
Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet on top of the stove, stirring and watching carefully to prevent burning. Puree the toasted pine nuts, garlic, spinach, basil, parsley, and salt in a food processor. Add the olive oil and blend. Add the cheese and butter, and pulse briefly, being careful not to over blend.
Cut an 18-inch square of cheesecloth; moisten with water, wring dry and smoothly line a 6-cup plain or charlotte mold (I use a glass flowerpot-shaped mold, and it is perfect) with the cheesecloth. Drape the excess cheesecloth outward over rim of mold. Take two pieces of wax paper or aluminum foil. On one, make six mounds of the cream cheese/butter mixture; on the other one, make five mounds of the pesto. Use two different spatulas for the next step so the cream cheese/butter mixture has its own spatula, and the pesto has its own spatula. You are going to layer the two different ingredients - the cream cheese/butter mixture and the pesto. Start by making an even layer with one of the cheese mounds in the bottom of the mold. Cover with one of the pesto mounds, and spread the pesto, extending it evenly to the sides of the mold. Repeat layering, making each layer even, and extendingIf your mold is too wide to make this many layers, that's fine, but always finish with a cheese layer. Fold the ends of the cheesecloth inward over the torta, and press lightly to compact. Chill for several hours or overnight. Invert the torta onto a serving dish, and gently pull it out of the mold. Remove the cheesecloth, and decorate the top of the torta with sun-dried tomatoes spread out in a fan shape. Serve the torta with crackers or slices of French baguette.
To store: Remove cheesecloth, wrap air-tight with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to five days. Can be frozen.