When it comes to parties, is there anything more versatile or more well-beloved than the humble dip? It can take so many different forms, different flavors, even different textures, but it’s always a winner for two reasons- they are a cinch to throw together AND they serve a ton of people in one fell swoop. When it comes to creating an amazing appetizer recipe, one of my favorite ingredients HAS to be cheese, and of all the cheeses in all the world, goat cheese would be my number one pick. It’s just.. the best. That creamy texture with its unique smooth taste- it just begs to be dressed up! Remember those amazing Fried Goat Cheese Balls? To die for. I went a slightly different direction with this recipe- I whipped goat cheese with a little bit of cream cheese (if you’re unfamiliar with goat cheese, its has a tendency to separate out into crumbles, rather than smooth out) to make a spreadable, droppable texture and mixed in some of my favorite pantry staples- Roasted Red Peppers, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pesto from Alessi Foods. By finely chopping the two biggest flavor items, roasted peppers and sun dried tomatoes, I was able to bring in some of the trademark flavors of the Mediterranean and combine them with the unique flavor profile of goat cheese- a marriage, as it turns out, that was utterly made in heaven, especially when paired with the bright and clean flavors of KRIS Italian Pinot Grigio (my current go-to!). I am LOVING this wine for a versatile pick. It’s perfect for quiet nights inside all the way through entertaining friends outside! I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t love it. Plus, you can high five the label every time you get it a glass! *wink*
The simple addition of lemon zest and a ribbon of flavorful pesto over the top of the dip, let me add additional fresh flavors while allowing me to stay away from chopping fresh herbs or adding other seasonings. I do love combining textures- I always find that they play off of each other. Even though they may not be alike or a conventional pairing, it doesn’t mean that they don’t work! (Just like marriage, amiright?!). In this case, I took Alessi’s potato gnocchi and sautéed it in their olive oil and just a touch of their garlic paste. After they were golden, garlicky and crispy, I gave them a dusting of coarse salt, essentially turning them into an Italian version of a French fry crossed with a tater tot crossed with a dumpling. I saute my ricotta gnocchi all the time instead of boiling them at all, but I wasn’t sure how it would work with its potato-based twin. Newsflash: it worked out just dandy. They were awesome. Michael ambled into the kitchen while I was shooting and stole one. From then on, it was game over- there was no keeping him out of them! They were also the perfect “transportation vessel” for our easy goat cheese dip. You could also serve it alongside Alessi’s Garlic Breadsticks or their Rosemary Sputini crackers. I paired this with a glass of crisp and chilled KRIS Wine Italian Pinot Grigio, whose clean, fresh and vibrant flavor is the perfect “contrasting complement” to the velvety richness of the dip and gnocchi.
For more recipes and pairing ideas, Join the KRIS Society and find Find KRIS Wine locations near you! Be sure to check out Alessi Foods full offerings of authentic Italian food and check their website for even more Italian recipes, both traditional and with an fun twist!
Mediterranean Goat Cheese Dip
- 11 oz goat cheese, room temperature or softened
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature or softened
- 1/4 cup chopped Alessi Roasted Red Peppers
- 1/4 cup finely chopped Alessi Sun Dried Tomatoes
- 1 lemon, zested
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons Alessi Pesto
- 1/4 cup Alessi Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
- 16 oz Alessi Potato Gnocchi
In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to whip together the cream cheese and goat cheese until combined, smooth and fluffy.
Fold in the chopped red peppers (reserving approximately 1 teaspoon for garnish), sun dried tomatoes and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer dip to a small baking dish or bowl, and use a knife or offset spatula to smooth edge to edge. Create a swirl crevice in the top of the dip.
Spoon the pesto into the prepared swirl, garnish with remaining red pepper, and set aside.
In a medium skillet, add the olive oil and set over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the garlic paste and gnocchi. Toss to coat; saute over medium heat until golden brown and crispy. Season with salt.
Serve dip with crispy gnocchi, with additional crackers or breadsticks, if desired.