Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Creamy Pesto Artichoke Dip!

By the time you read this, we will know who is going to the Super Bowl.  As I write this, we don’t.  It had better be the ‘Niners, or I will have one very unhappy husband.  I would like to see the ‘Niners go too, after all, I am a Bay Area girl at heart.  And it always nice to see Colin Kaepernick succeed, right?

You may be able to guess, I’m really not that into football.  I try, I really do.  But it is hard for me to sit through an entire game.  They are so long!  I coach my daughter’s cheer squad and the games they cheer for are about an hour.  That’s a game length I can get behind!  But alas, playoff football is here, and that means that I am forced to sit through an entire game. 

The only thing that can get me through an entire game?  Football food!  I love football food because it is usually appetizers, and you all know by now….apps are my favorite.  I really feel that a football game needs a hot cheesy dip.  Today, I am going to show you my hot cheesy dip that is perfect for the big game.

Everybody loves artichoke dip, right?  It’s a crowd pleaser.  My artichoke dip is creamy, cheesy and garlicky.  Sounds delish, hmmmmm?

I start with cream cheese, which is the perfect base to all cheesy hot dips.  And life in general I think.  Everything good starts with cream cheese.  You can quote me on that.

Anyway, I melt my cream cheese with mayo, jarred pesto, artichoke hearts, bacon and Fontina cheese.  I use jarred pesto for ease, but you can feel free to make your own, you over achiever, you.  I choose Fontina cheese because it is a great “melting” cheese.  You could totally use mozzarella or provolone too.

Once everything is melted together, I pour the mixture into a bread bowl and top it with parmesan cheese and more bacon before it gets popped under the broiler.  It comes out browned, bubbly and delicious.

The pesto in this gives the dip a garlicky goodness that can’t be matched.  And…look at all that green!  It’s beautiful!  The artichoke hearts almost melt into this dip giving it a salty goodness that is perfect with all the gooey cheese.

Perfect football food, right?  I serve my dip with sliced baguette that I have brushed with olive oil and toasted up in the oven.  You don’t have to be that fancy though….crackers and raw veggies also rock with this dip.  Give it a try!  And go ‘Niners!

Creamy Artichoke Pesto Dip

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

8 ounces pesto

1/3 cup mayonnaise

14 ounces artichoke hearts (in brine), chopped

6 ounces bacon (cooked and crumbled), divided

6 ounces Fontina, shredded

1 cup parmesan cheese

1 sourdough boule (round loaf)

Preheat broiler.

In a large saucepan, melt together cream cheese, mayo and pesto over medium heat.  Stir occasionally.  Once mixture is smooth, stir in shredded Fontina, artichoke hearts and bacon, leaving 2 tablespoons of bacon aside.  Heat through.

To prepare the bread, cut about 1 inch off the top of the loaf and discard the top or save for future use.  Scoop out the inside of the loaf leaving you with a “bowl”.  Discard the innards or freeze for future use.

Pour dip into bread bowl.  Top with parmesan cheese and remaining bacon.  Broil in broiler for about 4 minutes or until top is golden brown and bubbly.

Serve with crackers, bread slices, crudité, etc.

Makes about 4 cups.

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