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Stuffed Pesto Torta

Stuffed Pesto Torta

Stuffed Pesto Torta


Makes 8 main-dish or 24 appetizer servings


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (about 14 ounces) Italian-style tomatoes, undrained and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound fresh uncooked Italian sausage, casings removed
1 package (about 17 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/2 pound thinly sliced Gruyère or mozzarella cheese
6 tablespoons purchased or homemade pesto
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water


  1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot; add onion and garlic. Cook 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Add tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt and red pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until mixture reduces to 1-1/3 cups. Remove from heat; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine cream, Parmesan and ricotta cheeses and black pepper in medium bowl; beat with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Brown sausage in large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink, stirring to separate meat. Drain sausage on paper towels; set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out 1 pastry sheet to 13-inch square on lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin. Press pastry onto bottom and up side of 9-inch springform pan. (Pastry will not completely cover side of pan and will hang over edge in places.)
  5. Layer 1/2 of cooked sausage on bottom of pastry shell. Top with 1/2 of reserved tomato sauce mixture, spreading evenly. Drop 1/2 of cream cheese mixture by heaping teaspoonfuls over tomato sauce mixture. Arrange 1/2 of Gruyère in pastry shell, forming solid layer. Spread pesto evenly over Gruyère with small metal spatula. Arrange remaining Gruyère over pesto, forming another solid layer. Drop remaining cream cheese mixture by heaping teaspoonfuls over Gruyère. Top with remaining tomato sauce mixture. Layer with remaining cooked sausage. Trim overhanging pastry to even height.
  6. Roll out remaining pastry sheet to 12-inch square on lightly floured surface; trim to 8-inch circle. Make decorative pastry cut-outs from excess dough, if desired. Beat egg yolk and water in small bowl with fork until blended. Lightly brush beaten egg mixture on pastry around filled torta. Carefully place 8-inch circle of pastry over torta, pressing gently to adhere. Lightly brush top crust with beaten egg mixture and arrange pastry cut-outs on top. Brush cut-outs with beaten egg mixture.
  7. Bake 1 hour or until pastry is golden. Let stand 15 minutes on wire rack. To serve, carefully remove side of pan; let stand 45 minutes before cutting into wedges. Garnish as desired.

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