Pesto-pistachio Torte

Rating: 
Yield: 
12 servings.
Ingredients: 

2 packages Cream cheese, softened
1 pound Butter, softened
1/2 cup PISTACHIO PESTO (recipe follows)
2/3 cup Coarsely chopped, natural American pistachios
Baguette slices or crackers
1 cup Packed, fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Coarsely chopped, natural American pistachios
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 clove Garlic, peeled
1/8 teaspoon Cracked pepper

Instructions: 

Beat cream cheese and butter until thoroughly combined and fluffy. In a 1-quart terrine or similar style serving dish, layer 1/3 cream cheese mixture, 1/4 cup pistachio pesto and 1/4 cup pistachios. Repeat layers. Spread top with remaining 1/3 cup cream cheese mixture and sprinkle with pistachios. Serve with baguette slices or crackers.
Place basil, cheese, pistachios, oil, garlic and pepper in food processor or blender; process until well-blended.
PISTACHIO PESTO CHEESE TORTE
1 cup Nonfat cottage cheese
12 ounces Light cream cheese (neufchatel)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Chopped, natural American pistachios
Beat cottage cheese with cream cheese and salt until smooth. Line a 3-cup bowl or mold with transparent wrap (this makes releasing the mold easy). Spoon 1/3 cheese mixture into lined bowl, smooth out then layer with half the filling and 1 tablespoon pistachios. Repeat layers then top with remaining cheese mixture. Cover then refrigerate for several hours to overnight to set. Invert onto plate, peel off wrap and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of pistachios. Serve with crackers, sliced French bread or sliced vegetables such as bell peppers, cucumber, jicama, carrots and celery.
Pistachio-Pesto Filling:
Combine in blender or food processor 2 cups fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 clove garlic and 1/4 cup whole shelled, natural American pistachios. Process or whip until pureed, scraping down sides if needed.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!