- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs or cracker crumbs
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- 16 oz. cream cheese
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- 7 to 8 cloves of garlic
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup prepared pesto
- ½ to 1 Tomato
- ¼ to ⅓ cup pine nuts
- Fresh basil for garnish
- To Roast Garlic: peel off as much of the outer paper as possible and slice the top off to reveal the cloves. Place on aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Close and bake at 325°F for 20 to 40 minutes. Once cool enough to touch, squeeze the cloves out onto a cutting board. Sprinkle with another pinch of salt and mash well into paste.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease with butter
- Combine the crust ingredients and tamp into the bottom of the springform pan.
- Bake for 2 to 5 minutes to set the crust. Watch carefully, you want just a hint of color change.
- In the bowl of a mixer, combine the first six filling ingredients and beat until lightened.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Set aside 1/2 of mixture.
- Into the other half, mix in the pesto and pour into pan. Top with plain cheese mixture.
- Thinly slice the tomato; adorn the top of the cheesecake with the tomato and pine nuts.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until middle is only slightly wiggly.
- Shut oven off and open the oven door a crack. Let cool to room temperature. Cover well with saran wrap and chill at least three hours before serving.
- Plate and garnish with fresh basil.
DESCRIPTION: Fresh Chives, basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme are often used as spices or garnishing.
Please Note: Curly leaf parsley is very difficult to check. It is therefore recommended that only flat leaf parsley be used.
INFESTATION: Aphids, thrips and other insects may often be found on the leaves and stems of these herbs. Insects tend to nestle in the crevices between the leaves and branches of herbs. These insects can curl up and stick to the leaf once they come in contact with water.
Vegetable spinners, power hoses, and light boxes are not always available in the home. We therefore recommend the following alternate procedure.
RECOMMENDATION: In order to determine if a particular bunch of herbs is infested prior to washing, bang it several times over a white cloth. This is most important when checking oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. If only one or two insects are found proceed with the steps below. If three or more insects are detected in a particular bunch of herbs it should not be used.
- Soak herbs in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated unscented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, care must be taken to thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
- Agitate the herbs in the soapy water, in order to loosen the sticking excretion of the bugs.
- Using a heavy stream of water, thoroughly wash off the soap and other foreign matter from the herbs.
- Check both sides of each leaf under direct light.
- If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.
- If any insects are found after repeating the agitation process twice, the entire bunch must be discarded.
Please note: To prepare herbs such as cilantro, dill, or parsley for use in soups, wash them thoroughly and place in a cooking bag.