One of my favorite (easy) fresh summer appetizers is Basil Cream Cheese pesto with tomatoes.
The fancy version involves making an “X” shape in the end of a cherry tomato and stuffing the tomato with the pesto filling.
I prefer to spread it on grilled bread and top with chopped fresh garden tomatoes to make bruschetta.
Here is my version of this summer favorite:
8-12 basil leaves (around 2 cups)
2 or 3 cloves garlic (depending on size)
1/4 c. pine nuts (toasted preferably)
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
6 oz. low fat cream cheese (or Neuchâtel preferably)
1/2 c. Olive Oil
Pulse all solid ingredients together in a food processor while drizzling olive oil into the mixture. Blend until smooth.
Brush fresh bread with olive oil and grill or broil.
Spread pesto mix onto bread, top with chopped tomatoes and extra cheese if desired.
Enjoy with a low-tannin light red, or rosé wine.
My wine pairing suggestion is a pink Sangiovese like this one. Il Rosé di Casanova- La Spinetta. Around $15.
Living in New York we are very fortunate to have an excellent selection of places to enjoy food and wine. Recently I had some delicious (Neapolitan) pizza-click on the photo for NYC location. Not everyone is as lucky, so I am passing along a “secret” recipe for Margherita Pizza that you can try to perfect at home.
Prego (Italian for “You’re welcome!”)
Some wines that are great with Margherita Pizza (Tolerant Taster approved):
Barbera (d’Asti or d’Alba):
Vietti- Tre Vigne– around $20 and delicious.
Michel Chiarlo– around $10 and pretty easy to find anywhere.
Masciarelli– under $10 !
Fattoria Le Terrazze (Rosso Conero)- under $20-if you can find it.
good Chianti (doesn’t need to be expensive)-
Monteraponi– harder to find but classic and delicious. Around $20.
Fattoria Viticcio– under $20 and pretty easy to locate.