A baked, cheesy spinach and artichoke dip, featuring freshly sauteed spinach, Fontina cheese, and marinated artichoke hearts. Addictively delicious and absolutely perfect potluck party food!
I pull this recipe out multiple times a year for both spring and Christmas entertaining. No matter the time of year, nor the occasion, I can count on the fact that the dish holding this glorious concoction of flavors will be swept clean via the serving spoon, or the toast points, I serve alongside it. The sauce is creamy and rich, with a welcomed brightness from the marinated artichokes, making for an overall savory, and very addictive appetizer. Here is the story:
Once upon a time, before The Anthony Kitchen had yet to exist, spinach and artichoke dip was but a far-and-away, highly desirable restaurant treat. I can’t explain why, but the dish seemed as if it would be a difficult feat to achieve in my own kitchen. Like many tasks that first appear daunting, one only needs to try. Oh yeah, and practice. Practice helps too.
Anytime I’m taking a stab at a first-time recipe, I begin by putting forth some due diligence in the research department. Which, in essence, means that I go through a vast number of recipes and study the most commonly found elements in both the ingredients list and the method.
For spinach and artichoke dip, the mains stars of the show were….drumroll please…spinach and artichokes. No big surprise there. For this version, we’ll take fresh spinach and sauté it down with a little chopped onion and some freshly minced garlic. Marinated artichokes (typically found in a jar within the international/Italian section of the grocery store) are the way to go here. They add just the right amount of brightness and acidity to an overall creamy and earthy dish.
The rest is just a simple sauce, made of a cream cheese base, enhanced by my beloved Fontina cheese: A lovely and mild cheese, possessing the ability to add that ooey-gooey, stretchy-goodness to any dish.
A practice I found common throughout the method section was to press out any excess moisture from the spinach before adding it to the dish, and friends, I cannot stress the importance of this step enough. If you fail to remove the excess water content, your dip will be thin and soupy, rather than rich and creamy. So I say this with great love, yet also in a very authoritative voice: Do not skip this step. Press the water out of that spinach with unsurpassed vigor. Oh, and also chop the spinach. That one is important as well. Un-chopped spinach in a dip can cause people to get a little choked up, and the Heimlich can be a total party buzzkill.
Speaking of parties, as I was saying earlier, this dip is a total winner when it comes to fare for entertaining. It’s absolutely stellar hot out of the oven but also makes a wonderful potluck contribution, as it maintains its integrity at room temperature as well.
Once this beauty is on the table, ready for the taking, you’ll likely find yourself wishing you had made a double-batch. Speaking from experience, this puppy goes fast. Serve it alongside toast points, sliced baguette, pita or even tortilla chips and watch the people come. Then, watch them come back again and again. Please, enjoy.
A baked, cheesy spinach and artichoke dip, featuring freshly sauteed spinach, Fontina cheese, and marinated artichoke hearts.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 10 oz baby spinach rinsed and dried
- 1 1/4 c half and half
- 12 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Dash of hot sauce
- 2 c freshly grated Fontina cheese separated
- 12 oz quartered and marinated artichoke hearts drained and patted dry
Preheat the oven to 375° and have ready a greased 8” square baking dish.
Add olive to a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté 1 minute more.
Add the spinach to the saucepan a handful at a time, stirring after each addition. Once the spinach begins to wilt, add another handful and repeat until all of the spinach has been incorporated.
Transfer the mixture to a colander and using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher, apply firm pressure and squeeze out all of the excess water/moisture from the spinach. Transfer to a cutting board and finely chop the spinach.
Place the saucepan back on the stove top, add the half and half, along with the cream cheese. Turn the heat on low, and stir until the cream cheese has melted into the half and half. Add the Kosher salt, paprika, black pepper, Worcestershire, and hot sauce, along with the chopped spinach and half of the Fontina cheese. Stir to combine.
Roughly chop the artichoke hearts and add them to the mixture. Stir once more and transfer to baking dish. Top with remaining Fontina cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the edges are bubbly.