The idea for this warm Italian dip has been bouncing around my noggin for a while now. A few weeks to be exact, but when you’re talking about something this creamy, gooey, melty, cheesy…that might as well be forever.
After the week of technological troubles I’ve had, I was craving comfort food. It also had to be incredibly simple, because Lord knows what kitchen processes the cause-all-technology-to-go-haywire aura I was giving off could have messed with. I seriously couldn’t handle a comfort food fail on top of it.
Nothing major happened, thankfully, but it was a WEIRD couple of days. One of my worst blog nightmares came true when the post for these pineapple ginger cocktails posted itself before it was ready. My ancient laptop played dead for a panic-inducing couple of seconds TWICE. Mid Insta-stalk I liked strangers’ posts from months and months ago (so not used to the big iPhone 6 screen yet).
Then I thought I’d be cleverly efficient and order Panera online for lunch one day at work, and just run over and pick it up without waiting. So smart, Alyssa! I checked out and noticed on my confirmation page that instead of sending my order to the Nashville location, I sent a bowl of turkey chili and a salad to San Diego instead. Ugh! The same internet gnomes that prematurely posted those cocktails struck AGAIN.
So when it came to this dip, I wasn’t taking any chances. Blending, heating, and stirring are all that’s required. Easy peasy!
Besides cheese and more cheese, there’s a whole can of cannellini beans in here, too! After rinsing and draining them, I gave them a whirl in the food processor with a drizzle of olive oil until they were just about all smooth. The beans added some substance to the nutrition here, but also worked so well in bulking up the dip and giving it some heft. Flimsy chips beware!
On the stove top, I mixed together marinara sauce (use your favorite!), cheese, and spices until the cheese is smooth and melted. Resist the urge to stop here and grab a spoon…you’re not done yet! Soon. Throw in the beans and stir, stir, stir until everything is heated throughout and combined. Now you’ve got yourself a warm, creamy dip bursting with Italian flavor. So good, it’ll make you forget all about hurried post status changes and frantic calls to Panera customer service. Promise. 🙂
- 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used part-skim)
- 1 8-oz block neufchâtel cheese (or regular cream cheese)
- 1 tsp dried basil, to taste
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder, to taste
- In the bowl of a food processor, blend cannellini beans and olive oil until mixture is just about smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan set over medium to medium-high heat, add marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Let mixture heat and stir so that the cheese melts. Once mozzarella has melted completely, add neufchâtel and stir so it melts and everything is combined.
- Add bean mixture to the sauce pan along with basil and garlic powder. Stir so all ingredients are evenly distributed and dip is heated throughout. Serve warm.
If you like things zippy, feel free to add red pepper flakes!