Artichoke Pesto Torta
- 1 (13 to 14-ounce) can whole artichoke hearts, rinsed well, drained, and patted dry
- 1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Italian parsley sprigs, for garnish
- Assorted breads and crackers, to serve
- Assorted cut-up fresh vegetables, to serve (such as bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, endive leaves, and carrots)
Blend the artichokes, parsley, nuts, lemon peel, lemon juice, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a food processor, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally, until the artichokes are very finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually pour in 1/4 cup oil. Continue blending until the pesto is creamy. Season the pesto, to taste, with more salt and pepper.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Spray a 2 to 3 cup bowl with nonstick spray. Line the bowl with plastic wrap, extending the plastic over the sides. Spread enough cream cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared bowl to form a 1/2-inch layer. Top with enough pesto to form a 1/2-inch layer. Repeat layering the remaining cream cheese mixture and pesto. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.
Invert the torta onto a platter and remove the plastic. Garnish with parsley sprigs. Serve with bread, crackers, and vegetables.