We’ve been experiencing a bit of radio silence over here in Football Foodie land after the Super Bowl, and for that I apologize. I’ve been trying to wrap up a few other projects this month that sadly don’t involve cooking and posting recipes, but now that it’s Bracket Season we all have an excuse for a little extra snacking to go along with our sports.

In the four-plus years of doing the Football Foodie, I’ve tried to make a point out of not relying on a lot of kitchen appliances in the recipes I post. Stove, oven; heavy pan for frying instead of a deep fryer, knife or pastry blender instead of a food processor. I haven’t always succeeded. The mini-chopper is used quite often, as is the stick blender and the mixer, and yes, a traditional blender. My thinking has always been that most of my readers are young, may not have a huge kitchen (I certainly don’t), and might be single sports fans with just a knife and a can opener.

Why the explanation? Because it’s the second post in a row using my new food processor and I’m feeling guilty for getting away from one of my own personal guidelines. Just know that a good pastry blender or potato masher can work just as well as a food processor/blender/stick blender/mini-chopper with this recipe.

Tomato-Cannellini Dip

Cannellini beans make for a rich, hearty dip that is just as good cold as it is warm. Easy to make a head of time and goes well with crostini, sliced baguette or endive.

You will need…

1 16 ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
About a cup or so (8-10 ounces) fresh cherry tomatoes or 2-3 roma tomatoes halved or quartered
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup fresh spinach (about a large handful), chopped
3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Ingredient notes:

If you have an extra-special bottle of extra virgin olive oil you save for special occasions, break it out to give this spread a boost of complex nutty-fruity favor.

I tend to use canned beans for ease of use — planning what I am making the day before and soaking any sort of bean ahead of time is an idea I can never get my mind around, no matter how much better dried cannellini beans from Italy are supposed to be, but if you are one of those cooks who is good at planning a menu for the week and can hydrate your own beans, then plan on using about two cups of beans.

Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and gentle saute the minced garlic until fragrant. If the garlic looks like it’s starting to brown or burn, lift the pan away from the heat and give it a good swirl around the pot. (Probably a good idea to do this a few times anyway.)

Stir in the cannelini beans, tomatoes, salt and pepper and raise the heat to medium. Let it stew for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix in the spinach and heat for about five more minutes. You’re looking for the tomatoes to cook down and the beans to be tender, but still firm.

Remove from heat and fold in the chopped basil.

Let cool for about 10-15 minutes.

In either a food processor, mini-chopper, blender or with a pastry blender or potato masher, pulse a few times to chop up the beans and tomatoes just a tad, leaving the spread chunky for better texture.

Garnish with basil and serve.

This dip also works well cold, so making your tomato-cannellini dip the day before round three — four? stupid play-in games — is fine, especially when you want spend less time in the kitchen during the games. Considering that the first four out of five tourney games today have gone down to the wire, being prepared ahead of time is probably a good idea.


March Munchie Madness:
Toasted Sesame Edamame Dip

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