Thursday, August 28, 2014

Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip with Roasted Garlic and Asiago Cheese

Labor day is almost upon us! That American 3 day weekend that sort of symbolizes Summer's last hurrah. There are lots of Sunday and Monday barbecues this coming weekend, which inspired me to post a dip recipe I've had on the back burner (so to speak) for a while now. This is my version of a classic: spinach, artichoke, cheese and garlic dip. Of course classics are classic for a reason.

This is perfect to bring to a party, or to serve at your own! It's rich but not too decadent and best of all it is vegetarian! It's fairly easy to prepare, which is an additional bonus! The only potentially difficult thing is to roast your own garlic, but it's something I highly recommend, as it will really kick up the flavor of the dip! To roast the garlic preheat the oven to 400 and coat the inside of one muffin mold in a tin. Chop the tips off the head of garlic just enough that all of the clove tops are exposed, then brush the tops with olive oil. Put the garlic in the greased muffin mold, cover with tin foil and roast for 35 - 45 minutes, or until the garlic is squishy when prodded.

The pictures in the post are of the vessel it was cooked and served in: my Aunt Stacy's fabulous wedding gift, a hand thrown and glazed clay casserole dish! I thought it too lovely not to share. :)

Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Makes about 1 lb of dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cloves roasted or 3 cloves raw garlic
8 ounces chopped steamed spinach, excess water squeezed out
8 ounces preserved artichoke hearts, drained
4 ounces finely grated asiago cheese
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Separate the artichoke hearts' leaves from the hearts and set the hearts aside.
3. Toss the artichoke leaves into a blender or food processor with the softened cream cheese, spinach and garlic. Pulse in 3 second intervals until the mixture is smooth. You may have to scrape down the sides once or twice to get it to blend smoothly.
4. Transfer to your baking dish and fold in 3/4 of the grated asiago.
5. Mince the artichoke hearts and sprinkle over top. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 10-20 minutes, checking every 10 minutes, until the cheese starts to turn golden.
Serve alongside chip or cracker of choice.

I hope enjoyed you this recipe and I welcome your feedback!

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