Cheesy artichoke dip

Artichokes (carciofi in Italian) are popular in Italy and have been grown across central and southern Italy since Roman times. Among the many cooking techniques used to prepare artichokes, Italians like to braise, stuff, stew, fry, broil and grill them.

Artichokes can be somewhat daunting as the preparation of them is a little laborious. However, most supermarkets stock canned/jarred artichokes that are pre-prepared or artichoke hearts in oil (you will usually find them in the “antipasti” section with the condiments or with the fresh olives in the fridges).

This quick and simple recipe makes a delicious dip that is the ideal vehicle for dunking crudités, toast or nachos. To lighten the calories, you could use low-fat plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese instead of mascarpone, and if you’re feeling particularly wild you could sub-out the Parmesan for nutritional yeast flakes!

Ingredients
A jar of artichoke hearts
1 clove of garlic
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preparation method
Drain the artichoke hearts and then blend with the garlic, mascarpone and Parmesan. Pop the dip into an ovenproof dish and bake at 190 °C for about 20 minutes. If you’re feeling fancy, garnish with finely diced tomato and red onion to serve.

We told you it was simple!

Umbria during the spring is particularly good for dishes with artichokes and a popular destination is Assisi.

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