Saturday, April 23, 2011

Artichokes Cellini

Artichoke Dip. Everyone has a recipe for it, tons of restaurants (both indie and chain) offer it, and the flavors are, in order of appearance: salt, oil, garlic powder, onion powder, something you can't identify, and then artichoke hearts. Tasty and instantly gratifying, then a little sickening. Often too much mayo, always too much salt and concentrated seasoning, and the artichoke hearts are either pure mush or pure fiber.

I offer a simple solution to this bummer of artichoke heart mistreatment:  
Artichokes Cellini

I got my Artichokes Cellini recipe from Not Just Pasta, a restaurant where I waited tables in the early '90s. Sadly, the restaurant is no longer there, but some of its recipes live on through many who worked there.

Artichokes Cellini
16 oz. cream cheese
1 (14oz) can artichoke hearts -not marinated 
juice from 1 small lemon
4 Tbs butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
1/4 cup green onion, chopped

1. Let cream cheese and butter soften in a mixing bowl at room temperature (1/2 - 1 hour).
2. In the meantime, open and drain can of artichoke hearts, squeezing out the water.
3. Cut off and discard the tough and prickly parts.
4. Add artichoke hearts to cream cheese and butter and mix.
5. Add juice from lemon, and half of the parmesan cheese, continue mixing.
6. Once mixed, transfer to baking dish and top with the rest of the parmesan and green onions.
7. Bake (uncovered) at 350-375F for 20-30 minutes.
8. Cool for 5-10 minutes and serve with french bread, pita chips, or any dip-able, hand-held starch.

You can substitute neufchatel for cream cheese (1/3 less fat) and cut the butter with a healthy spread, but keep some butter, and stay away from fat-free cream cheese. That stuff is just plain wrong.

Where's the garlic? It's not in this recipe, but you can add it. I'd saute just a clove or 2 crushed, in butter, on low heat for a few minutes before adding it to the cream cheese/artichoke mixture. I don't usually add it because the flavors are so nice, already, and I don't want it to step on the dinner that follows. If it's a party food, then go crazy!

Also makes a great quiche.

1 comment:

  1. I have fond memories of Ed Krajewski and working at his Not Just Pasta, A Specialty Cafe & Taver. What a passionate, kind soul. Love that you shared this recipe, and I would appreciate connecting with you (I worked with Eddy, Sean, Richard, Mario, Jesus, to name a few)