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Pesto Holiday Wreath

If you chop the basil used for decorating the top of the wreath it will bruise and turn black, so snip it into bits using kitchen shears instead and it will stay nice and green.

Ingredients

Pesto Holiday Wreath

16 ounces cream cheese, softened

3⁄4 cup pesto (to make your own, see below)

6 to 10 snipped fresh basil leaves, for decorating

2 to 4 sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil), cut into pieces, for decorating

baguette slices, for serving

Directions

1. Using a stand mixer or a bowl and a spatula, mix together the cream cheese and pesto. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a platter in a circular pattern with the edges touching each other. Smooth the spoonfuls together to form a wreath shape. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

2. Before serving, sprinkle the basil over the top of the wreath and decorate with pieces of sun-dried tomato.

Serve with baguette slices.

Ingredients

Pesto

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1⁄4 cup pine nuts

2 garlic cloves

coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Combine the basil, oil, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, and salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Tip: Use leftover pesto on pasta or spread on a sandwich, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Serves 12 to 15

Excerpted from GREAT BALLS OF CHEESE, © 2013 by Michelle Buffardi. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Photos: © Jason Wyche

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