You have probably eaten at many family style restaurants that have a spinach dip, or a spinach and artichoke dip, typically served with fried tortilla chips. This recipe is a knockoff of the appetizer known as Artichoke and Spinach Dip still served on the menu today at Copeland’s of New Orleans, selling for $9.29 a portion. Currently with locations in six states in the US, Copeland’s was founded in 1983 by the late Al Copeland, the renowned restaurateur who founded Popeye’s Famous Fried Chicken.
The restaurant serving size of the dip is a little less than one cup per rarebit dish portion and is heated to order in a very hot convection oven to an internal temperature of at least 165º F. The pasta which has already been par-boiled and portioned into about 2-cups is then battered and deep fried to order. Once the dip is heated the rarebit is placed on an under liner with doilies, then the fried pasta is tossed with parmesan cheese, plated, and garnished with fresh chopped parsley.
Be forewarned, this preparation will dirty a lot of equipment and utensils in your home kitchen and includes two main processes, the spinach and artichoke dip, and the fried bowtie pasta. Both require total attention, however, some steps can be organized together.
This recipe will give you about 2 quarts of hot spinach and artichoke dip. Along with about 6 cups of the fried bow tie pasta for dunking into the dip, this is a crowd pleasing party food or appetizer for your next event, party, or holiday meal.
I am going to try something new here on the CCR blog and attempt to give you a complete play-by-play of the dip and fried bowtie pasta preparations, similar to several popular foodie blog sites. And I can tell you; this takes a lot of planning, preparation, and work to produce in a single post. I would image that some of these very popular foodie blog’s have assistants doing portions of the duties such as recipe ideas, photographer, writer, web development, alas; I am a one man show. Someday, I may have enough gold to hire on a few associates myself!
For the Dip
First you start with heating the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat and then sauté the onions and garlic until soft and translucent.
Then you add the flour, stirring well with a wooden spoon to incorporate into the mixture, and allow this to cook for several minutes until it forms a light blond roux.
Then you add the warm chicken stock and heavy cream or half and half and using a wire whisk to blend the roux into the liquid until smooth. Allow the liquid sauce base to simmer over a low heat for several minutes.
Then you add the Cajun Spice Blend and gently whisk well to incorporate into the liquid.
Then add the sugar and lemon juice and gently whisk well again.
Then add the Crystal Hot Sauce and gently whisk well once again.
Then add the grated parmesan cheese and gently whisk well into the dip base.
Next, fold in the sour cream until well incorporated.
Now switch from using the wire whisk to a rubber spatula, and scrape the sides of the sauce pot to incorporate all the ingredients in a uniform and thick consistency.
Next, using the rubber spatula fold in the spinach which as already been drained of any excess liquid.
Then, fold in the artichoke hearts in the same manner.
The dip portion of the preparation is now done.
Using the rubber spatula as a tool, it is time to transfer the dip to a oven proof dish.
Then combine the parmesan cheese with the shredded Monterey Jack cheese and spread it evenly over the dip.
Sprinkle the top of the dip evenly with paprika. The dip is now ready to cool overnight or go straight into the 375º F for 30 – 35 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the dip is bubbling on the edges.
For the bowtie (Farfalle) pasta…
Get your pot of salted water and your pound of pasta ready, and cook the pasta per package directions, then drain and rinse with cool water and allow the pasta to chill quickly.
Get your fry station ready with your three stage station: seasoned flour, egg wash, seasoned bread crumbs, the deep fryer, the draining station with layers of paper towels, and a large stainless steel bowl. A word of caution: be sure to have a deep fry thermometer that can read up to 450º F. I recommend peanut or canola oil for home deep frying as they have a high flash point. You want to keep the oil at 350º F and no higher, this is a safe temperature for these types of vegetable oil. Have a lid or cover handy that can be placed over the deep fryer to cover should the unlikely case that the oil would catch fire. Observe all safety requirements that go with deep frying in the house.
Portion out one cup of the cooked pasta.
Then toss the pasta into the seasoned flour, and coat evenly.
Using a sifter, shake the excess flour from the pasta.
Then toss the pasta into the egg wash and coat well, then strain with a slotted spoon.
And transfer the coated pasta into the seasoned bread crumbs and toss well to coat.
Then deep fry the breaded pasta for 2 minutes, or until golden brown and they float to the top of the hot oil.
Once done, remove the fried pasta with another slotted spoon and allow them to drain on several layers of paper towels.
Then transfer the drained pasta to a large stainless steel bowl and toss with grated parmesan cheese.
Arrange the fried pasta around your heated spinach and artichoke dip and time to eat.
A few recommendations before you begin…
1.) The amount of spinach in the recipe is the weight needed for the preparation, not how much you need to purchase. I would recommend at least 1 ½ pounds of frozen spinach to yield the 1 pound needed in the recipe, a lot of moisture loss occurs during the thawing and draining and this will bring the weight down.
2.) The pound and ounce measurements are weights, and the remaining measurements are volume.
3.) This dish can also be served in eight separate 1-cup, or four 2-cup portions if you desire to spread out the servings or offer it as part of a smaller table setting.
4.) If you plan on having leftovers, then you will want to reserve the appropriate amount of bowtie pasta to be fried as required. In other words, it is not recommended that you fry up all your bowtie pasta in a single sitting, the fried pasta does not lend well to reheating or leftovers.
5.) While preparing the dip portion of the recipe in one large sauce pot, another large pot can be put in to get the water boiling for the initial cooking of the pasta. This will save you some time in the over all preparation.
6.) I would recommend that the dip preparation and the initial cooking (boiling) of the pasta be done ahead of time. The dip benefits in increased flavor by allowing it to cool and chill overnight and the pasta can be cooked and chilled as well. Then when you are ready to serve all you have to do is put the dip in the oven and then set up your frying station and fry up the pasta.
|2||Tbsp||Butter, lightly salt|
|1||Cup||Onion, diced 1/4"|
|1 ½||Cup||Heavy Cream, or half and half|
|1||Cup||Chicken stock, warm|
|1||Tsp||Cajun Spice Blend|
|1||Tsp||Crystal Hot sauce|
|1||Tbsp||Lemon juice, freshly squeezed|
|1||Cup||Parmesan cheese, fresh grated, divided|
|8||Oz.||Cream cheese, softened (optional)|
|1||Lb.||Spinach, frozen chopped, strained|
|½||Lb.||Artichoke Hearts, chopped 1/2"|
|1||Cup||Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded, heaping|
|1||Tbsp||Parsley, fresh, chopped|
|1.||Before starting with the recipe make sure that the frozen spinach is fully thawed and drained of any excess moisture. Then proceed with the following steps. You want to end up with at least 1 pound of usable spinach once the liquid has been fully removed, but more than 1 pound is okay.|
|2.||Melt the butter along with the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, and then add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the flour and stir well to incorporate into the mixture. Allow this to cook for several minutes on medium heat, or until the flour absorbs all the liquid and starts to turn a pale blond color.|
|3.||Add the heavy cream and warm chicken stock and using a wire whisk blend the mixture until smooth. Simmer over low heat for several minutes.|
|4.||Add the Cajun spice blend, sugar, Crystal hot sauce, lemon juice, ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese and stir well with a large spoon to incorporate.|
|5.||Add the spinach and artichoke hearts and mix well with a large spoon, continue to simmer until heated through or about 5 minutes.|
|6.||Transfer to an oven proof 2 quart or larger serving dish and then sprinkle the shredded Monterey Jack cheese and then the remaining ½ cup of the grated Parmesan cheese, and then sprinkle the paprika over the top. Heat the dip in a 375º F oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly browned on top. Serve with the fried bow tie pasta (see recipe below) for dipping.|
Fried Bow Tie Pasta
|1||Lbs.||Bow tie pasta|
|1||Tbsp||Vegetable oil, divided|
|1 ½||Cups||All-Purpose Flour|
|2||Cups||Bread crumbs, seasoned|
|2||Quarts||Peanut oil, for deep frying|
|½||Cup||Parmesan cheese, shredded|
|1||Tbsp||Cajun Spice Blend|
|1.||Add water to a large stock pot and add the salt and ½ tablespoon of the vegetable oil, and then bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander and then run cool water over pasta to stop the cooking process. Allow the pasta to drain well, then transfer to a large bowl or container and coat the bow tie pasta with the remaining ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil then refrigerate.|
|2.||Breading station: In a large bowl or container combine the flour with the salt and white pepper, in another large bowl or container mix the beaten eggs with the milk and in one last large bowl or container place the seasoned bread crumbs.|
|3.||Heat peanut oil to 350º F in a fryer or large high-sided stock pot and have ready for deep frying.|
|4.||Batch Frying Method: Take one cup of the bow tie pasta and toss into the seasoned flour, then shake the excess flour off and toss into the egg wash, then drip excess liquid and transfer to the seasoned breadcrumbs and dust to coat well, shaking off any excess breading.|
|5.||Deep fry the breaded bow tie pasta for about 2 minutes, or until golden and floating on top of the oil.|
|6.||Remove the fried pasta from the oil and drain on paper towels.|
|7.||In a large bowl toss the fried pasta with the Parmesan cheese and the Cajun spice blend, and then serve with the spinach and artichoke dip.|
To Serve: Place warmed dip container onto a large platter lined with doilies or napkins and then arrange the fried bow tie pasta around the dip. Garnish the entire presentation with the fresh chopped parsley.
Yield: 2 quarts dip, 6 cups pasta approximate.