This recipe and photography was provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at Ravenouskitchen.com.
There are some appetizers that transcend time. For anyone over the age of 50, the salty tang of artichoke, spinach and Parmesan cheese dip revives memories of 1970’s basement parties, Allman Brothers tunes and bell bottom jeans. Who knew fifty years later it would be déjà vu all over again with bell bottoms on fashion runways, iconic rock still on the radio and a hot cheesy dip in a glass pie dish that never, ever, really went out of style?
Let’s face it. The dip has stood the test of time. This is the little black dress of appetizers. It always works. It makes the hostess look great. People love it. It’s easy to make and serve. It’s almost effortless. But we’re not still wearing little black dresses from the 1970’s. This dip needs an update.
I don’t want to play around with the basic premise of the dish as it’s almost perfect, but morphing it into a portable bite that can be neatly tossed into one’s mouth could be considered an improvement. Crunch could be added. Crunch is always good. Maybe even a drizzle or a dip?
To my way of thinking, there’s no better way to encase a creamy, cheesy filling into a hand-held bite than by rolling it up in a crunchy Asian won ton wrapper. These little squares of dough are found in the produce section and are the perfect vehicle to move dip to mouth. They’re so easy to roll up, brush with oil and crisp up in a hot oven. The won tons are terrific dipped into jarred marinara sauce but you could also just drizzle with a balsamic reduction or serve them plain.
I think this springy combination of creamy, cheesy artichoke and crunchy wrapper is just right. These won tons are perfect for kicking off your new spring social season whether taking it on the road to an appetizer party or added as a new addition to your personal line of party favorites. Try partnering these up with delivery wings and pizza to add a bit of class to the menu. Oh, and don’t forget the classic rock and wide bottomed pants.
Spinach and Artichoke Wontons
As it turns out, spinach and artichoke dip is the perfect filling for these springy bites. Easy to mix up and assemble, these little nuggets are perfect for your next party with a side of warmed marinara.
It’s that easy: Wrap these up loosely as they expand when heating up and can pop the wrapper open. If it happens it’s okay. Just flip them over bottom side up on the platter. They’ll still be delish.
Start-to-finish: 1 hour
Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Makes about 30 rolls
- 4-oz. cream cheese
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (plus more for garnish)
- 6-oz. bottled marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- One 10-oz. package frozen spinach, drained, squeezed dry and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- About 30 wonton wrappers
- Olive oil for brushing
- Warmed marinara sauce for dipping or reduced balsamic for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Line a sheet pan with non-stick aluminum foil.
- Add the cream cheese, mayo, Jack cheese, feta, Parmesan, artichokes, spinach, garlic, salt and a few grinds of pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10 times to combine it well.
- Lay a wonton wrapper on a work surface with a pointed corner away from you. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold the bottom point up and over the filling and give it a short roll to snug it up before folding the sides in. With a finger dipped in water, dampen the edges of the point farthest away from you and roll loosely (if you wrap them tightly, they’ll pop open while baking). Continue with the remaining wrappers until no filling is left.
- Brush the rolls with olive oil and transfer them to the foil lined sheet pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until browned and hot inside.
- Garnish with Parmesan and serve with warmed Marinara sauce for dipping or drizzle with reduced balsamic.
Make-ahead: Freeze the assembled rolls on a sheet pan and transfer to freezer bags to keep for up to 3 months. Bake frozen according to directions, adding a few extra minutes to baking time.
In the glass: Artichoke is notoriously difficult to partner with wine, but Sauvignon Blanc is usually the best option. Kim Crawford is one of my favorites. It’s dry and steely but still soft around the edges with enough balance to work with the cheese and tomato dip. Makes me thirsty just thinking about it.