Last Spring, Roz from La Bella Vita Cucina asked me to do a guest post for her while she was on vacation. I replied with a big yes and then threw in the “on one condition” trick, and that was that she’d return the favor while I traveled. As you read this I’m flitting around Germany and France on a culinary, sight seeing, wine tasting trip led by my friends Michele over at Cooking with Michele and Kirsten from My Kitchen In The Rockies.
Roz writes a beautiful blog and with her Italian heritage, posts some incredible recipes influenced by her family who are from the mountains immediately north of the city of Modena, in the provence of Emilia-Romagna, in Northern Italy. To get to know her a little better, here’s a paragraph I copied from her “about” page.
Ciao! I live in the beautiful Carolina’s on a peaceful country acreage surrounded by amazing natural beauty. I’m Italian from a long lineage of passionate cooks and gardeners. I’m a college professor with a hungry husband and family to try new recipes on, 10 animals to play with, and veggie and flower gardens to tend. Along with being aculinary enthusiast and gardener, I’m a quilter, equestrian, frequent traveler, and lover of life and beauty . . . thus the name “La Bella Vita (Cucina)”, “The Beautiful Life”. . . because if you look around you, it truly is a beautiful life! After visiting my blog, I hope you feel inspired to welcome more beauty and deliciousness into your life.
A big-time thanks to Roz for taking the time to write this guest post. And please everyone, take the time to pay a visit to her blog. You won’t be sorry, you’ll find some good food and inspiration on Roz’s site. At the end of this post, you’ll find links to her social media sites. Share the love and follow her.
I’ll turn it over to Roz:
Hi everyone! What a pleasure and honor to be invited by Lea Ann to contribute a guest post on Cooking . . . On The Ranch, which is truly one of my favorite food blogs! My name is Roz and I am the author, chief cook and dish washer, and photographer of “La Bella Vita Cucina” (link to attach: http://www.italianbellavita.
My husband and I love to entertain with family and friends. Whether that be in our gourmet dinner groups, neighborhood potlucks, or casually watching football with a big spread of appetizers and mini-bites, cooking for others is a joy for us. And whenever we have a large gathering, I have to always include a hot, cheesy, Italian cheese-laden dip with artichokes and spinach. This and my home-made salsa made from tomatoes grown in our gardens are always requested and disappear with sad faces and complaints of “Why didn’t you make or bring more?”
Although wonderful any time of year, this recipe is beautiful served in cut-open and scooped out autumn gourds, squash and mini-pumpkins in colors that highlight the season. Perfect for fall entertaining! I hope that you enjoy and that you have a lovely autumn!
Cheesy Asiago Artichoke & Spinach Dip
2 cans Artichoke Hearts, drained, quartered, and chopped
1 10-oz. package of chopped, frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano Cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago Cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Mozzarella (or Provolone) Cheese
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. freshly cracked Sea Salt
1/8 tsp. freshly cracked Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter a small baking dish and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients until well blended.
- Transfer mixture to the baking dish and spread it out evenly.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
- Serve with your favorite crackers, bread, or pita chips.
Artichoke Spinach with Four Cheeses …. It’s What’s for an Appetizer.