Lucinda's Basil Torta


Courtesy of Lucinda Hutson
Photography by Jody Horton

This recipe is a real party pleaser—first published in my book, The Herb Garden Cookbook. It's been a popular appetizer at Austin restaurants Castle Hill, Mirabelle and Chez Zee for years. Here's my newest version.

Torta is good for several days, refrigerated and tightly wrapped. Mound with salsa just prior to serving. Although best served at room temperature, it slices better when chilled.

Optional garnishes: Fresh sprigs of basil, fresh red cayenne peppers, toasted pine nuts or Marcona almonds, whole sundried tomatoes, crostini.

Super easy

Lucinda's Basil Torta


For 1 Batch(es)


  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces goat cheese or rinsed feta
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cups Garden Pesto
  • 3/4 pounds provolone, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups Roasted Red Pepper Salsa (click here for recipe)
  • 1/3 cups toasted pine nuts or Marcona almonds

Lucinda's Basil Torta Directions

  1. Blend cream cheese, feta and butter; add pesto and mix well.
  2. Line a 4-cup loaf pan or bowl with plastic wrap, leaving several inches of wrap overhanging on each side. Make a layer of provolone slices on the bottom and up the sides of the loaf pan.
  3. Spread half of the pesto mixture over the provolone layer, carefully filling in the corners. Evenly spread 4–5 tablespoons of the Roasted Red Pepper Salsa over the pesto layer, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the pine nuts.
  4. Add another layer of provolone, pressing down well between layers. Repeat with another layer of pesto mixture, 4–5 tablespoons of salsa, and 2 tablespoons of pine nuts. Fold in the provolone sides and cover with a final layer of provolone. Tightly cover the loaf with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  5. Invert the torta on a platter and wreathe with fresh basil and whole cayenne peppers. Loosely mound the top with the remaining salsa (you’ll have some extra), pine nuts and fresh sprigs of basil. Serve with toasted crostini, flatbread or crackers.