Roasted Garlic and White Bean Dip with Fresh Basil

by feastonthecheap on April 19, 2012

Mariel here. I’m in the midst of moving from the city to the suburbs, so my mom has been spearheading the blog while I sort through my life… But I’m back this week and I’ve got another recipe in the hopper for next week so I won’t be neglecting Feast for too long!

On Easter Sunday, my step-mom and dad graciously hosted me, my husband and my brothers for dinner. Since I co-manage a food blog, I offered to bring a little something, but because my schedule has been somewhat obscene as of late – tax prep, myriad meetings with contractors, electricians, HVAC guys and painters, plus an endless stream of magazine deadlines – I opted for a quick and easy app. What’s easier than White Bean Dip? Healthy, delicious and it practically makes itself.

Ugh, why did I have to mess with a classic…

While I’ve made my own tried-and-true brew many times (as transcribed below), I “stumbled” across a concoction that also incorporated a bit of tomato paste. The author noted that the concentrated toms added a sweet depth to the beans and a pretty rosy hue – perfect for Easter, I thought smugly. Unfortunately, because white beans are so mild, the small amount of tomato paste completely overwhelmed the dip and I found it almost inedible. Despite my proclamations to steer clear of the offending appetizer, my dad and step-mom were kind enough to eat it. But I’m no dummy, it was garbage, which is doubly embarrassing when you allegedly know what you’re doing in the kitchen.

To reboot my own ego, I decided to remake the dip this week and was reminded how simpler is often better. This versatile spread is wonderfully creamy with a bright hint of basil and the warm sweetness of a whole head of roasted garlic. I add a splash of balsamic vinegar for a little acid – and a generous crack of black pepper – and I love to use this as a condiment on sandwiches, though it works just as well with plain old pita chips. The next time I head to dinner with the family, I’ll be sure to bring this rendition rather than the last…

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Roasted Garlic and White Bean Dip with Fresh Basil
Makes about a pint

1 head of garlic – stock
19-oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed – $1.39
6-8 medium-size fresh basil leaves – $2.50
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper – stock
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (plus some for brushing the garlic) – stock
1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar – stock
Salt, to taste – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $3.89

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Remove the papery outer layer of the garlic bulb (just enough so that the whole bulb stays intact), cut off the top ¼-inch of the bulb and brush with a little bit of olive oil. Wrap entirely with two layers of aluminum foil and roast for 40 minutes, or until garlic is nice and soft. Let cool until you can handle comfortably and remove the individual skins off each clove.

3. In the bowl of a food processor, toss in the cannellini beans, roasted garlic cloves, basil leaves and black pepper, then puree. Gradually pour in the olive oil and Balsamic while the processor is running until you create a creamy paste. Taste and season with salt (to your liking).