White bean dip is a multi-purpose concoction. Of course, you can eat this dip with veggies, crackers, and chips, but for the sheer joy of it, you can also mix it into piping hot pasta. The aroma when it hits the hot pasta is just delicious. Below is my take on white bean dip for the holidays.
What you need:
- 8 ounces or so Pancetta- you can purchase it already diced or get the deli to hand cut a chunk about ¼ of an inch thick. Then dice it. NOTE: Prosciutto or a few slices of bacon can be substituted.
- 1 teaspoon, plus 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 head garlic
- 2(15-ounce) cans of white beans drained and rinsed
- Fresh lemon- squeeze 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 sprinkle of cayenne, you can use smoked paprika as well
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼teaspoon black pepper
What to do:
Cook the pancetta: Take the diced pancetta and cook in a small pan until crispy. Do not drain away all the fat unless you use bacon. Bacon yields too much fat. Hold aside as it cools.
Roast the garlic: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice off the top each head of garlic to expose the tops of the cloves inside. Place the heads on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap. Roast until cloves are lightly browned and tender, about 40 minutes, depending on your oven. Cool and set aside.
Now mix it: Using a food processor or blender, squeeze the garlic cloves into the bowl and add the white beans, 4 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary leaves, black pepper, cayenne (if using), hot water and salt. Purée until smooth, then taste for and alter as needed. Transfer to a serving dish.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and reheat for about one 1 minute. Pour or spoon the mixture over the top of the dip. Sprinkle with cayenne or paprika for the zing! You can also add pine nuts and grated Locatelli cheese.
It can be served room temperature or cold. This is a great dip to enjoy with friends and a lovely white wine. Merry Christmas.