Friday, February 4, 2011

Spinach Dip with Mascarpone

Another snow day here in Dallas.  I thought I was moving down here to avoid some of the winter weather!  My parents who live in the upper peninsula of Michigan told me Dallas got more snow than them...seems backwards if you ask me.  Due to not bringing any of my real "winter clothes" down here, going outside is an adventure.  I did go out to take some photos, I'll share those with you next week.   
The Super Bowl is this weekend, and in Dallas.  I hope everyone that had plans to get here was able to do so, despite the weather.  I thought I'd post my spinach dip, because it would be a great appetizer to make if you're having a Super Bowl party, or attending one.  
The recipe calls for frozen chopped spinach, I had some fresh spinach I needed to use, and it worked just fine.  Make sure you squeeze any water out from the spinach! 
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.  When the pan's hot, add the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and add the onions.  Saute until they're soft. 
I did make a mistake while making this, I cut everything in half... except the onions.  Oops!  Make sure you pay close attention to the amount of onions you use.  They sweat when you cook them, and it can make the dip a little watered down.  Hopefully, I'll do a little better job of this next time.  
Mascarpone is usually used to make tiramisu, but I must say, it was a nice addition to the spinach dip.  I hope to experiment and use it in some new recipes; more to come on that! 
I recently bought my first cheese grater...I know, I know, don't judge!  I don't know how many times I've read, or heard, people say freshly grated parmesan will make you never want to eat parmesan any other way.  I completely agree!  I don't know how else to explain it, other than it's just so much better.  
After the onions are translucent, add the spinach and saute until warm, but still bright green.  Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne.  Turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone cheese and grated parmesan. 
I didn't have a ramekin big enough to bake in, so I just used a bread loaf pan.  You can use any oven safe dish that the dip will fit in though.  I grated a little extra parmesan on top, just because I can't get enough of it. Bake for around 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, until the cheese is bubbling around the edges.  Serve with pita chips, bread or veggies.  I cut up whole wheat bread, toasted it, and served the dip on that.  
It was very tasty!  It wasn't as cheesy as the other spinach dips I've had, it's a good mix of spinach and cheese. Plus the nutmeg gives it a nutty, cinnamon flavor, it makes a great appetizer! 

Warm Spinach Mascarpone Dip
1 small onion, minced
16oz frozen chopped spinach, defrosted *I used fresh
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Take a handful of spinach squeeze, and discard the water from the spinach.  *Squeeze as much water out as you can!
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.  When hot, add olive oil and coat bottom of pan.
Add onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
Add spinach and saute until the spinach is warm, but still bright green, about 30 seconds.
Season and toss with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne.  
Turn off heat and stir in mascarpone cheese, and grated parmesan.
Pour into oven safe dish, and bake for around 30 minutes, until cheese is bubbling around edges. 
Serve warm. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! 

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