Before you were able to find spinach artichoke on so many restaurant menus, there was one place who had already mastered it – in my opinion. Olive Garden. Their version of the recipe is definitely more like a spread than a dip, is made with less spinach than most recipes (but more artichokes) and has a slight kick to it (which I love!). Really, though, you can adjust this recipe however you want.
I adapted the recipe below from one of my favorite cookbooks – The Best of Top Secret Recipes, by Todd Wilbur. He does an excellent job of picking apart the flavors and ingredients of favorite restaurant and store foods, giving you the ability to make them at right at home. I also love his Super Secret Restaurant Collection. If you are a fan of certain restaurant foods or brand name snacks/treats, I highly recommend his books.
In many cases he is SO right on the money, but here I felt it needed a little bit of an additional punch from fresh garlic, rather than powdered. I also decided to bake mine instead of microwave it, and added the parmesan on top rather than in the dip. He also mentions that Olive Garden serves this with crackers made from fried pasta, but everywhere I’ve had it serves it with small rounds of bread so that is how I’ve always served it. See the notes section of the recipe for a tip on matching this bread almost exactly.
Start by sauteing your chopped spinach with a little olive oil over medium/high heat.
It will wilt down significantly, and it only takes a few moments. Remove it from the heat and let it cool a bit while you prep the other ingredients.
More cheese! This time, some glorious and nutty/salty parmesan cheese!
PAUSE! I’m sorry, I know you want to get to the good stuff, but I just have to show you this grater. It’s definitely one of my favorite kitchen tools. This medium sized one is great for chocolate, citrus zest, hard cheeses – you name it! I also have a smaller one that I use for nutmeg and especiallyfor garlic – no more mincing/chopping!!!!
Back to the recipe now – sorry! In your stand mixer or bowl, put your softened cream cheese, salt, pepper, chili flakes and the fresh garlic. Mix well.
Add your chopped artichokes and mix some more.
Add the slightly cooled spinach and blend until it’s nice and creamy like this.
Spread that creamy deliciousness into a shallow, oven safe serving dish or small casserole. Mine is 1.2 quarts, but 1 or 1 1/2 would be just fine as well – even a shallow platter will work.
Top with the grated parmesan then bake in a preheated 350* oven until its hot and bubbly and the cheese begins to brown.
I like my parmesan a little extra crispy. ;-D Serve warm with bread rounds (see notes!) or crackers.
Mmmmmm, I just couldn’t contain myself!
Spinach Artichoke Dip
This hot and creamy spinach artichoke dip will be sure to please at your next gathering. In fact, I think you'll want to make it even if you don't have any guests!
1 packed cup chopped fresh spinach, sauteed (see notes)
24 oz. (3 packages) cream cheese, softened (see notes)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced (see notes)
1 15 oz can or 2 small jars artichokes, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
bread or crackers for serving (see notes)
Preheat the oven to 350*.
Start by sauteing your chopped spinach with a little olive oil over medium/high heat.It will wilt down significantly, and it only takes a few moments. Remove it from the heat and let it cool a bit while you prep the other ingredients.
In your stand mixer or bowl, put your softened cream cheese, salt, pepper, chili flakes and the fresh garlic. Mix well.
Add your chopped artichokes and mix some more.
Add the slightly cooled spinach and blend until it's nice and creamy.
Spread that creamy deliciousness into a shallow, oven safe serving dish or small casserole 1 - 1/2 quarts in size.
Top with the grated parmesan, then bake until its hot and bubbly and the cheese begins to brown - about 10 to 15 minutes. I like my parmesan a little extra crispy. ;-D
Serve with bread rounds or crackers.
* Bread - the bread rounds I used are the perfect size. The local grocery store's bakery sells slim french bread loaves and I simply ask the baker to slice it for me. Two slim loaves are about perfect for this recipe, with a few slices leftover - perfect for mini grilled cheese!
* Feel free to use low fat or fat free cream cheese in place of the regular kind.
* 1/2 cup frozen spinach thawed and drained can be used in place of fresh spinach.
* No fresh garlic? Simply use 1/2 tsp garlic powder and up the red pepper flakes to 1 1/4 tsp to give it a little extra kick.