White Pizza Dip

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So I came across this recipe the other day for White Pizza Dip.  It looked so yummy that I had to make my own version. I was a little skeptical since it has cream cheese in it and I’ve made some dips before where the cream cheese just made the dip runny.  This dip has roasted grape tomatoes and roasted garlic which are scrumptious, four cheeses, fresh basil, and herbs that sing in your mouth!  It’s awesome!

But, if my husband and I ever did make pigs of ourselves, it was while eating this dip.  You will be AMAZED at how much it tastes like pizza!  We ate so much of it before dinner was ready that we didn’t even eat our dinner.  It’s embarrassing, I know.  We even stood in the kitchen and ate it without telling the kids that it was there.  And then we hid the leftovers. We’ll go put ourselves in time-out now.  

1 pint grape tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
12 ounces cream cheese, very soft, cut into small cubes
1/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese
8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
2 T fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Crackers, French bread toasts, pretzels

NOTE:  The cream cheese has to be really really soft so it will blend with the other ingredients.  If it’s not, you will get pockets of just cream cheese.  Also, after we devoured the dip, we thought maybe we should have added some pepperoni slices or cooked Italian sausage to the dip.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the tomatoes in half and put them on a sheet pan.  Put the garlic on the pan too. Lightly drizzle olive oil around and sprinkle the tomatoes and garlic with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Roast the tomatoes and garlic in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the tomatoes start to caramelize.  Remove them from the oven and chop all of it.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Take a couple of tablespoons of the Mozzarella and Monterrey Jack cheese and set it aside for the top of the dip.  Stir together the cream cheese, the Parmesan, Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, chopped tomatoes and garlic, basil, oregano, and thyme.  Put the mixture into a dish (I used a tart pan) and spread it to the sides.  Sprinkle on the reserved Mozzarella and Monterrey Jack cheese.  Bake the dip for about 20-25 minutes or until it’s heated through and the cheese on top is browned.  Serve with crackers, toasted French bread slices, or pretzel sticks.

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

On average, two restaurants a week closed in the year to the end of March, including casual dining chains, as well as upmarket and independent establishments, according to the latest data from analysts CGA and corporate advisory firm AlixPartners. Graeme Smith, the managing director of AlixPartners, said he expected restaurant numbers to continue to drop throughout the year as large chains in particular slim down. There have already been high-profile closures by burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, the Prezzo Group and Sir Terence Conran’s Albion restaurants, but more large chains and independents are expected to suffer. “It’s easy to say this is a crisis in casual dining,” said Peter Martin at CGA. “This is a crisis happening for everyone.” Restaurants are suffering because the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote has made ingredients more expensive while staff costs have risen, partly due to increases in the minimum wage. Economic uncertainty has stalled growth in the sector just as competition has increased after a surge in openings partly fuelled by private equity investment.

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