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|SPINACH ARTICHOKE 3-CHEESE DIP|
2 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach, shredded
1 teaspoon butter or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 pkg. cream cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped artichoke hearts
1 cup shredded provolone cheese
1 roasted red pepper (garnish)
salt and pepper, to taste
lemon juice or lemon pepper (optional)
In a skillet, sauté minced garlic 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Do not brown. Add washed shreds of baby spinach and sauté only until wilted but still a bright green (about 2 minutes) stirring to cook evenly. Remove pan from heat and stir in ricotta cheese and cream cheese, mixing well. Add artichoke hearts. Use artichoke hearts from a jar, drained well, or frozen if available; if using fresh artichoke hearts, steam until tender before using. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
Spread mixture in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with a thin layer of shredded provolone cheese. Garnish with a light sprinkling of paprika across the center for decoration.
Set baking dish on the center shelf of the oven and set oven to broil. Bake until cheese has melted and top is bubbly with lightly browned edges. Remove and allow to cool. Garnish center with a roasted red pepper cut into slices to resemble a flower for contrast.
Serve with sliced chips, vegetables, crackers, toasted crusty bread rounds or fingers.
Variation: Sprinkle with lemon pepper and/or lemon juice before adding the layer of cheese for an extra zesty flavor.
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