A few years ago, there was a TV commercial where a guy sang the contents of his online dating profile on stage at karaoke night. (Remember it? Hilarious.) Among his top accolades was the fact that everyone loved his spinach dip. As soon as it hit the airwaves, it became something of a running joke amongst my friends. “You two are soul mates!” they’d tease. You see, here at Striped Spatula, the recipe that friends and family ask me to share most often is Spinach and Artichoke Dip. It’s become something of a calling card!
I first made this dip about eight years ago and it’s been a staple for casual entertaining ever since. From barbecues and game watch parties to random afternoons hanging out at home, chances are good that this dip will make an appearance. With the big game a mere week away, I figured the time was prime to share the recipe with you (along with a few other of my favorite party snacks, coming your way during the week).
Despite the fact that this dip always seems to disappear immediately upon serving, I once made the assumption that people were growing tired of it. I mean, after about the fifth or sixth batch in half as many months, I was sick of Spinach and Artichoke Dip. So, one day, I invited friends over and ditched the dip for other snacks. Whatever I made that afternoon was happily eaten and enjoyed, but not without a table full of incredulous faces asking me, “Where’s the dip?” Lesson learned.
Let’s talk for a minute about the greater world of Spinach and Artichoke Dip. As I see it, there are two camps in the baked variety divide: those who like it thick and hearty, and those who prefer a thinner, more Alfredo-esque consistency. No judgment here; to each his or her own. A few bad restaurant experiences with the latter sealed the deal for me. (What I ordered in one place can only be described as islands of artichoke afloat in an oily sea of sauce. I still have nightmares.) I tend to gravitate toward a thicker, heartily-textured dip that packs a punch of flavor from the first bite to the last. I don’t like to have to chase haphazard chunks of artichokes around the serving bowl. Too much work.
Dipping “vehicles” are totally up to you. Bread cubes, assorted crackers, tortilla chips, crostini, or crudités all work well. Any way you serve it, I hope your guests love it as much as mine do. Like the commercial, you might even wind up having to add it to your next karaoke night résumé. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 cups coarsely chopped artichoke hearts*
- 1 (9-10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/2 cup Italian 4-Cheese Shred**
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray (I usually use an 8-inch pan). Set aside.
- Cook spinach according to package directions and drain well in a fine-mesh sieve, or by squeezing in a kitchen towel. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmigiano Reggiano, Italian 4-Cheese Shred, garlic, and garlic salt until well combined.
- Add artichoke hearts, spinach, and basil to the cream cheese mixture. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spread dip into prepared baking pan and top with mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes, or until center is hot and cheese is bubbly. If desired, place the baked dip under the broiler to further brown and crisp the cheese, being sure to watch closely (it goes fast!).
- Serve hot with bread cubes, lightly-salted (or unsalted) tortilla chips, crackers, crostini, or crudités.
**The 4-Cheese Shred I use from the gourmet cheese case at my grocery store contains Fontina, Provolone, Parmesan, and Asiago.