Saturday, March 17, 2012

Artichoke envy ...

This is not the post I planned to write today. But, after a tour of the Bella Vista Ranch this morning, I simply cannot stop thinking about delicious artichokes!

Artichoke photographed by Alamodeus.


It's funny that I came away from this visit in the Texas Hill Country provoked to write about artichokes, because Bella Vista is a working cattle ranch, olive producer and vineyard, not an artichoke farm. It just so happens that my husband and I caught a glimpse of the owner's personal garden, and a row of fabulous artichoke won over my heart and mind.

 

Images above via Alamodeus (left) and Matthew Wallenstein (right).

My artichoke knowledge is seriously limited, so learning of the beautiful flower produced by this lovely 'weed' was fascinating.

Image via Simply Recipes.

What I do know about artichokes is that they make one hell of a tasty partner to spinach, particularly in my Aunt Theresa's recipe for Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip.

HOT ARTICHOKE AND SPINACH DIP RECIPE

Ingredients:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a small baking dish.
In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.
Serve with toasted bread or crackers for dipping.


Image via The Sweets Life.

If you are at all like me, you'll love flat-bread pizza with artichokes and spinach. I'm sharing this favorite collected recipe for a savory Tuscan treat. 

ARTICHOKE SPINACH FLATBREAD PIZZA RECIPE

Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup parmesan
7 ounces fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1 lb pizza dough or 4 flatbread pieces
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
1 (14 oz) can artichokes, drained, rinsed, dried, and quartered

Directions:
Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 525F. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, add garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring constantly for 30-60 seconds. Add flour and stir for 1-2 minutes.

Gradually whisk in the milk before bringing the mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt and parmesan.

While sauce is cooking, add spinach to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until wilted. Add wilted spinach to sauce, stirring to combine.

Roll out pizza dough (1 lb forms two pizzas) or lay out flatbread pieces. Divide sauce evenly among bases and top each with Italian cheese and artichokes.

Place on pizza stone and bake for 6-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned. Remove stone from oven and cool pizza slightly before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yummy !!!!! says MAT

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