Bruschetta is just a fancy Italian word for hard bread slices. Drop it “accidentally” in a casual conversation and suddenly the guy across the table will look up at you and say “Ah, I see you are a man of culture as well”. It can be served as an appetizer (or antipasto), and in this recipe it is going to be served with a baked spinach and artichoke dip. I first has this at a restaurant near Pompeii almost a decade ago and I had to have it again, but I can’t afford a trip to Italy anymore. After trying several recipes from the internet, I finally found one I liked and here we are. Artichokes have a very strong taste especially if they have soaked in brine, but combining it with spinach and a nutty Parmesan mellows it down so everyone will enjoy it. I highly advise you to use a good Parmesan for a better taste, but I know that the Great Value brand at Walmart is all you can afford. Lets begin!
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
0.5 cup Romano cheese, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup chopped spinach, steamed and reduced in volume
1 pack (8 oz) cream cheese
0.25 cup bread crumbs, unseasoned
1 long French bread, stale
Olive oil to drizzle
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In an oven safe dish, mix all the ingredients using a wooden spoon except the bread crumbs, bread, and olive oil. Do not mix too much, you want to be able to separate the tasted in your mouth. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on and bake for 30 minutes of until the top is browned.
Cut the French bread into 2 cm thick slices and put them on a baking pan without overlapping. Drizzle Olive oil on top and toast them for 5 – 7 minutes until they are brown. Now let them cool and harden. This step can be done several hours before making the dip.
Serve this appetizer hot. It doesn’t need to be paired with any specific wine, so just choose the wine according to the entree. To make a complete antipasto platter, serve this with olives and cured meats like a Prosciutto.