This dip is so versatile and in the summer is something that I love to make over and over as it takes no time, I always have the ingredients on hand and everyone loves it! It makes a perfect starter for a relaxed evening meal or lunch, and is even fantastic to take with you on picnics since you serve it at room temperature. I like to serve it in a bowl with plenty of toasted ciabatta on the side and let people help themselves, but if you prefer you could make it in advance and then just before serving spread it onto the toasted ciabatta for a quick and easy artichoke and pesto crostini. Delicious, light and all the flavours of summer!
1 large jar (or tin) of artichoke hearts (approx. 14fl oz/390g)
1 small clove of garlic
3 heaped tbsp basil pesto, either homemade or bought
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, finely grated
Salt & pepper
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil leaves to garnish
Toasted ciabatta slices to serve*
Drain the artichoke hearts and wash gently. Place in the bowl of a food processor or in a jug that you can fit a hand held blender in. Add the garlic, pesto, lemon juice and a little salt and pepper then blitz in pulses until you have a consistency you like – you want to keep some texture to this pesto. Add the grated parmesan and stir so that it is well mixed. Taste to check the seasoning then transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle with a little extra oil then garnish with a few basil leaves. Serve at room temperature with the toasted ciabatta.
*Of course you don't have to serve this with ciabatta – it's just my preference. Crudites, pita chips and even plain tortilla chips all work well with this dip.
**For an extra special treat you could also use this as a pasta sauce, just thin it down using some of the cooking water from the pasta! Yum!