I have always been a fan of appetizers. I could have a whole dinner made of them and be completely happy. The reason I love this spinach dip so much is because it is easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser. I make this when there is an abundance of fresh spinach in the garden. It is a simple recipe, but the spinach and artichokes are so satisfying and flavorful when combined with cheese and spices. I bake it in a small cast-iron skillet because the dip stays warm and cheesy even when we drive miles to a party.
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, for greasing skillet
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces fresh spinach
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
14 ounces canned artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Use the butter to grease a small cast-iron skillet and set aside.
In a medium skillet or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic in the olive oil until lightly browned. Add the spinach to the pan with 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring until the spinach is fully wilted. Transfer the spinach from the pan into a small bowl, squeezing out any excess liquid.
Combine the cream cheese and sour cream in a large bowl and mix with a fork until fully blended. Add 3/4 cup of the mozzarella and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan and mix. Roughly chop the spinach and add it to the cheese mixture. Add the artichokes, crushed red pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the bowl and mix well.
Transfer the cheese and spinach mixture to the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan evenly on top. Sprinkle with black pepper.
Bake the dip for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.