There are over 100 wineries in the state of Missouri and my friend Kendra and I have pledged to visit them all. Perhaps we’ll succeed in our mission, perhaps not. The point is we are having one heck of a good time in the process!
What I enjoy most about Missouri wineries, other than sampling their wine of course, is the food you pair with the wine. Many of the bigger, more established wineries don’t allow you to bring in your own food; however the smaller, more intimate wineries, are less restrictive. It’s nice to go to the bigger wineries sometimes, but my preference is still to pack a picnic basket with a colorful tablecloth, bring real wine glasses (not the small plastic cups most places offer), an assortment of my favorite winery-friendly foods, and then sit back and enjoy the view.
This creamy pesto spread has become a favorite of mine because it pairs beautifully with most white wines. If I’m in the mood for a red wine, I’ll spoon a little marinara sauce on top. The combined flavors are almost like eating a pizza – perfect for a glass of red!
1 block reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh pesto
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 sprig Basil leaves
1 loaf Italian bread, sliced diagonally and toasted
1) Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
2) Spread one-third of the cheese mixture in the bottom of the bowl and then layer one-third of the pesto on top of the cheese mixture.
3) Repeat step 2 with remaining cheese and pesto where your final layer is the cheese mixture.
4) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill 8 hours (until firm) or overnight.
5) Garnish the spread with a dollop of pesto and a sprig of basil leaves. Serve with the bread.