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Vegetable Towers with Basil Pesto

This dazzling entrée is much simpler to make than it appears. Much of the prep work can be done in advance, and the delicious results are worth the time it takes to assemble the ingredients. The roasted vegetables are also wonderful served with a red wine sauce.

Serves: 4
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Serves 4

What you need:

  • 2 or 3 large Yukon Gold or other all-purpose potatoes, cut into 8 slices (about 1/4-inch thick)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 4 slices (about 1/4-inch thick)
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into rings (about 1/4-inch thick)
  • 4 large portabello mushroom caps
  • 1 large ripe tomato cut into 4 slices (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Basil Pesto

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray or brush the potato slices with olive oil and transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast until soft inside and golden brown outside, about 25 minutes, turning once about halfway through.
  2. On a separate baking sheet, follow the same procedure with the onion slices. After turning the onion slices, place the bell pepper rings on the same baking sheet and bake until the onions and peppers have softened, about 20 minutes total for the onion and 12 minutes for the peppers.
  3. With a sharp knife or spoon, carefully remove the dark brown gills from the underside of the mushroom caps. Lightly oil the mushrooms and place on a baking sheet and bake until softened, about 8 minutes.
  4. When all the vegetables are cooked, allow to cool slightly. Assemble the towers, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. First, arrange 4 potato slices in a lightly oiled shallow baking dish. Top each with an onion slice, followed by a pepper ring. Top with another potato slice, followed by a tomato slice, and top with a mushroom cap.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Tightly cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake until hot, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Using a metal spatula, carefully remove the towers and place one in the center of each dinner plate. Drizzle a spoonful of pesto onto each plate and serve at once.