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DRIED TOMATO TORTA

1 cup (1/2 lb) each cream cheese and unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (5 oz.) freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained (reserve oil)
2 tablespoons oil from dried tomatoes
About 2 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly packed

With an electric mixer or food processor, beat cream cheese, butter
and parmesan cheese until very smoothly blended. Cut 4 tomatoes
into thin strips; set aside. Whirl remaining tomatoes, oil and
about 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture until tomatoes are very smoothly
pureed; scrape puree back into bowl with cheese mixture and beat
to blend. Cover bowl and chill for about 20 minutes, or until firm
enough to shape.

Mound cheese on a platter. If made ahead, cover with and inverted
bowl (don't let it touch the cheese) and chill up to 3 days; serve
at room temperature. Arrange reserved tomato strips and basil
leaves around torta. Sunset suggests spreading cheese on toast
(they recommend toasted pita bread triangles) and topping with a
basil leaf and a tomato strip. Makes 8 to 10 appetizer servings.

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