It's National Vegetarian Week here in the UK next week, so I thought I would post a vegetarian recipe that is perfect for weekend entertaining today. This is a gorgeous dip that I learned how to make at the Miele Simply Cooking Introduction to Italian Masterclass I attended with my son a couple of weeks ago. I blogged about it here.
This lovely dip works beautifully spread on crostini (toasted ciabatta), or as a dip with crackers, vegetables or (not authentically Italian but very delicious) tortilla chips. It takes a bit of time to prepare, but it really is worth it.
The original recipe calls for mint, but when I made this at home I left the mint out and added basil instead. I definitely preferred it with the basil, but the choice is up to you! This is my version of the recipe we learned to make, with some small adaptations.
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 cup peas (fresh are lovely, but you can use frozen)
1 cup broad beans (fava beans), podded
⅓ cup water
1 jar char grilled artichokes, drained
(about ¾ cup - you can used drained and rinsed canned artichoke hearts as well)
generous pinch of salt
handful of mint or basil
juice of half a lemon
In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the spring onions (scallions) and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the peas and broad beans (fava beans). Cover and cook for a further two minutes.
Add the water, cover and allow to simmer for five minutes.
Add the artichokes and the salt, cover and cook for ten minutes or until all the vegetables are softened.
Put the mint or basil and the lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Add the vegetable mixture and blend to the desired consistency. The dip can be served chunky or smooth - we like it somewhere between the two!
If you wish to adjust the consistency at all, just add a small drizzle of olive oil and blend. You can serve this warm or allow to cool before serving, and this can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for about 12 to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.
If you want to serve this dip with crostini, simply brush a baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slice ciabatta bread about a quarter inch thick and place it in a single layer on the baking sheet. Brush with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a preheated oven at about 350℉ or 170℃. Watching the bread carefully, cook for about five minutes on each side, turning once, until golden brown.