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BackstoryI was looking to make a dip like the one served at The Olive Garden. After several variations this is what I came up with. I never have left overs when taken to potlucks and it's great to pair with a nice soup for dinner! It also can be made a day in advance and then bake.
- 1 - 8 oz block cream cheese - room temp
- 1 - 14 oz can artichokes - rinsed, drained and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach -
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise - Do not use miracle whip here, gives an off taste
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese - best to use fresh grated instead of "green can"
- 4 med to large cloves garlic - finely minced
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese - grated
- 1/2 tsp dried basil - if you prefer fresh use 1 Tbsp
- 1/4 tsp garlic salt
- fresh ground pepper - to your taste, I probably use about 1/4 tsp
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 3 dashes Tabasco hot sauce.
- 1 small plum or roma tomato chopped - for topping
- french baguette sliced thin and lightly toasted
- Thaw spinach and drain. Use paper towels or a dish towel to squeeze out all liquid, run knife through spinach to separate up (I use a scant half cup) or just eyeball the 10 oz box and cut it about half and wrap the other half for the next time and put back in freezer!
- Preheat Oven 350
- Spray 9-inch glass pie plate (or something similar as long as it's not too small) with non-stick cooking spray.
- With mixer: Cream cream cheese and mayo together, add parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and hot sauce and mix well. Mix in mozzarella. Fold in artichoke hearts and spinach with spatula and blend well.
- At this point you can cover and put in refrigerator until you're ready to heat it. I think it tastes even better to let the flavors meld a bit.
- This recipe makes a 9 inch pie plate worth of dip. If you have 2 small oval bakers you can do that and just watch, the baking time will probably be reduced.
- Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top and bake until cheese browns. (a pie plate dish takes about 20 - 25 mins.
- Put Chopped tomatoes in center of dip.
- Serve with toasted bread.