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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Cheesecake

1 cup butter cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 (8-oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pesto sauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, pureed and drained

Preheat oven to 325. Mix the cracker crumbs and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9" Springform pan. Bake for 10 minitess. Mix the cream cheese and ricotta cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the Parmesan, pesto sauce, and red peppers. Pour over the crust. Bake for 55 min to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out dry. Run a knife or metal spatula around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool before removing from the pan. Refrigerate 4 hrs. or overnight. Let stand 15 mins at room temperature before serving. Serve with crackers.

Pesto Sauce

1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 cups (4 ounces) lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Toast nuts in a dry skillet. In a food processor, combine nuts, basil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Process until nuts are finely chopped. With processor running, stream in olive oil and process till smooth.

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