Parties are like ballroom dancing. If you can swing a good dip, it’s a showstopper. I decided to take chef Lidia Bastianich’s Carrot and Chickpea Dip for a spin. It’s featured on page 37 of “Celebrate Like An Italian,” her twelfth cookbook, which was released last month. It’s one of 220 recipes in the book that is meant to help you entertain with the aid of Bastianich and her daughter and co-author, Tanya Bastianich Manuali.
The vibrant color of the dip drew in folks during a recent office luncheon and the lemon juice and zest is what made it a winner. The acid in the lemon is a great match to the sweetness brought by the carrots. It’s a bright, clean dip that pairs well with whole grain crackers, bread sticks, and chips. If I made it again, I’d modify in one of two ways. I’d add a bit more heat — the recipe only calls for a 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper — or a bit less of the cooking water to make it less of a dip and more of a sandwich spread. This dip with roasted root vegetables and thick cut bread could be on the sandwich menu at a restaurant in a heartbeat.
Bastianich will be in town to celebrate her new book and host a diner at Lidia’s (101 W 22nd St.) on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The four-course dinner ($55, wine pairings are $30 extra), features prosciutto with spicy giardiniera, pear and pecorino ravioli, a heritage pork shank with barley risotto, and coffee panna cotta, among other dishes, will begin at 5 p.m. You can make reservations by calling (816)-221-3722 or going to the restaurant’s website.
We chatted with Bastiniach earlier this year about why she chose the Freight House for her restaurant in Kansas City. It turns out that she found a little bit of nostalgia in a city that was new to her and the rest was history.
CARROT AND CHICKPEA DIP
Intingolo di Carote e Ceci
This dip can be made a day ahead; just be sure to let it come to room temperature before serving. It freezes well, so, if you have some left over, cover with plastic wrap pressed against the dip, seal the container, and freeze. This way, the flavors will stay fresh and not get that freezer taste. It is perfect served with some cleaned chopped vegetables, or crackers, or used as an alternative spread on sandwiches.
Serves 8 or more
1 pound carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
2 fresh bay leaves
Two 15 ½-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ to ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Flatbread, grissini, or crudite, for serving
To make the dip:
In a medium saucepan, cover the carrots, garlic, and bay leaves with water by 2 inches. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the carrots are very tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard the bay leaves.
In a food processor, combine the carrots, garlic, chickpeas, lemon zest and juice, salt, and cayenne. Process to make a smooth paste. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream to ensure a smooth and creamy dip a total time of 7 to 10 minutes. Add a little cooking water to adjust to a spreadable consistency.
Serve with flatbread, crudite, or grissini, or a combination of some or all of these.