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Courtney’s Spinach Artichoke Dip

May 7, 2011

My friend Courtney makes the best spinach artichoke dip I’ve ever tasted.  Courtney was one of the first people I met in Iowa; I met her and her then-colleague Stephanie at a new employee orientation at the university.  To explain what sort of warm-hearted women Courtney and Stephanie are: they threw me a birthday party just a week after meeting me.  That’s where I first tasted Courtney’s spinach artichoke dip.  A year and a half later, I finally cajoled Courtney into teaching me how it’s done.  She doesn’t use a recipe, so I had to follow her around the kitchen, measuring her every addition, much the way I used to when cooking with my Avó.  Courtney’s secret is using alfredo sauce instead of mayonnaise in the dip’s base, resulting in a complex, cheesy flavor and creamy texture without the oily separation from which many spinach artichoke dips suffer.  If you want to make a life-long friend, serve a new acquaintance this dip!

Courtney’s Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 red onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

Greek seasoning blend (to taste)

1 (15-oz.) can artichoke hearts

handful of cilantro, chopped

3 button mushrooms, sliced (optional)

pat of butter

12 oz. frozen spinach

1/2 cup alfredo sauce

3 – 4 oz. cream cheese

2 -3 cups mixed, grated cheese, divided

(Courtney uses an Italian blend of provolone, mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, etc)

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a springform pan with aluminum foil.

Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and Greek seasoning.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the artichoke hearts, cilantro, and mushrooms (if using).  Stir and cook another 2 minutes.

Add the pat of butter and spinach.  Turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 5 minutes or so, until most of the water from the spinach has cooked off.

Add the alfredo sauce and the cream cheese, and stir to combine well.  Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese.

Pour the spinach artichoke mixture into the prepared pan and top with another 1 to 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese.

Bake until the mixture is bubbly hot, and the cheese topping turns a beautiful golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve hot with bread, chips, or crackers.

One Comment
  1. Stephanie permalink
    May 9, 2011 6:06 pm

    Aww…I miss you both!!

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