THESE DIPS STAY TRUE to Italian tradition using classic flavors and minimal ingredients. Plus, all of them can be made ahead and refrigerated. But for the best flavor, bring the dips to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before you plan to serve them.
Makes 1 cup Total time: 15 minutes 21/2 cups Italian bread cubes, crusts removed 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar 2 cups packed fresh arugula 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 2 Tbsp. capers 1 tsp. Dijon mustard 1 clove garlic, crushed Salt and black pepper to taste Soak bread cubes in vinegar until absorbed. Purée arugula, oil, capers, Dijon, garlic, and soaked bread in a food processor; season with salt and pepper.
White Bean Dip
Makes 13/4 cups Total time: 10 minutes 1 can cannellini beans (15 oz.), drained and rinsed 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic cloves, see right 1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme Salt and black pepper to taste Purée beans, roasted garlic, balsamic, and oil in a food processor. Transfer dip to a bowl. Stir in thyme and season dip with salt and pepper.
Sun-Dried Tomato Dip
Makes 1 cup Total time: 10 minutes 1 cup goat cheese, softened 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano 2 Tbsp. roasted garlic cloves, see below Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
Purée goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, and roasted garlic in a food processor; season with salt and cayenne.
To roast garlic, preheat oven to 375°. Cut tops off whole bulbs of garlic to expose cloves. Peel a layer or two of paper off to expose more cloves.
Place the bulbs, cut sides up, in an ovenproof dish or pan. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. olive oil over each bulb, cover dish with foil, and roast until garlic is soft when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes. Squeeze bulbs from root end to pop out cloves.