artichoke broccoli dip with oscar

After a week off in Florida, full of the stresses of tanning, long walks on the beach and noshing on the freshest fish the southwestern shore has to offer, I came home to a final vacation weekend of snowboarding and the Oscars.

Feeling a little over-indulged with a body that might not be bikini-worthy after stuffing my face during my week in the sun, I was eager to snack on something healthy, yet still fun, for my night with Oscar (and friends and family). And then I thought I should broil a little cheese on top of it just to make sure it didn’t taste overly healthy, because where’s the fun in that?

Watching the Academy Awards does require something akin to bar food – with just enough grease and salt to entertain me while Billy Crystal makes another lame joke (even though I love him to bits), without requiring the kind of concentration that could distract me from Jean Dujardin’s sexy French accent or the wonder that is Meryl Streep’s ageless face.

The easy solution for me was a dip: one slightly more complex than the usual hummus or guac, but simple enough that I could take a break to glance over at shining stars on the red carpet like Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton and Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen.

I picked a handful of my favourite ingredients, threw them into an oven-safe dish, and ended up with a gooey cracker topper, jam-packed with veggies and flavour. Cook up this dip for your friends without going totally overboard on calories for your next movie night – maybe with The Artist or The Help.

  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli, diced (small!)
  • 3-4 canned artichoke hearts (about half a 398ml can), diced
  • 1 container (475g) light ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Sauté shallots and broccoli over low heat with a little oil until the shallots become translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine shallots, broccoli, artichokes, ricotta, olive oil and 3/4 cup of the cheese in a bowl.
  4. Season with salt and pepper; you can taste and adjust.
  5. Pour into an oven-safe dish (I used two that were about 5 inches in diameter each.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top until the dip is just covered (you may need a little extra depending on the size of the dish)
  7. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes before switching the oven to broil for about 3 minutes, until the cheese begins to bubble and brown.
  8. Serve with your favourite cracker.

This can be a great appetizer for any dinner party or a fun late-night snack. You can also bake the dip in individual ramekins and everyone can have their own personal bowl. It’s really easy to make this in advance and then pop it in the oven right before you serve it; I ended up making two dishes and freezing one to defrost and bake later on.

Next time you’re getting ready to watch a little Clooney or Pitt – or, let’s face it, the next episode of American Idol – mix up a little creamy, cheesy dip and snack away!

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