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Celebrate Summer with Pesto

Fresh goat cheese in rustic style

This is the time of summer when the basil in our garden here at Buckhorn is ready to pick.  Combining it with dairy creates the perfect appetizer for a summer evening out on the patio.  This recipe is from the 1988 edition of Easy Entertaining with Marlene Sorosky.  I have made it many times and served it with a variety of crackers.  A good wine pairing might be an Australian sauvignon blanc.  The green, herbaceous notes of the wine complements the pesto flavors and the bright acidity will act as a palate cleanser.  This recipe serves 16.






2 large garlic cloves, peeled

2 cups (about 2 ounces) basil leaves (note:  if you blanch them a few seconds in boiling water and then plunge in ice water the basil leaves will retain their emerald green hue)

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

2/3 cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup olive oil



11 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

¾ cup ricotta cheese (about 6 ounces)

8 ounces goat cheese

3 eggs, at room temperature

½ cup sour cream


To make the pesto, mince garlic in a food processor.  Add basil, cheese, and walnuts and process until ground.  Add oil and process to a thick paste.


To make cheesecake, butter an 8 ½” springform pan.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix together cream cheese, ricotta, and goat cheese until well blended.  Mix in eggs until thoroughly incorporated.  Add sour cream and process until well blended.  Pour into springform.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes.  The top will be golden and the center will still jiggle.  Remove to rack and cool completely.  When ready to serve, remove sides of pan and spread pesto evenly over the top.  Sun dried tomato strips make a lovely garnish.  Sit back and wait for the compliments!