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Everyday Italian: White Bean Dip with Pita Chips

The "Italian version of hummus," according to Giada De Laurentiis. It's an easy dip to make, and would make a nice addition to a buffet table or holiday dinner. Both the dip and the chips can be made ahead of time. The flavor of the white beans is a bit less assertive than hummus, and the oregano-coated pita chips make a good accompaniment.

The only question I had about this recipe was the discrepancy between the instruction to halve the pita breads horizontally, and the photo of the finished dish, which clearly shows pita chips that have not been halved. I simply cut the pita into wedges, without opening them up horizontally. I'm not sure that the cooking instructions would work for thinner chips, to be honest. My intact chips were golden and crisp in less time than the recipe called for. If the pitas were even thinner, I think they might burn if you cooked them for the full time that the recipe says. Use your best judgment; if you want to make really thin chips, then go ahead and slice the pita pockets apart through the middle before cutting them into wedges. But watch them carefully, as they will almost certainly cook more quickly than intact pita chips will.

I suggest that you line your baking sheet with foil, for easier clean-up. And if you make thinner pita chips, you'll need to use 2 baking sheets (that's not specified in Everyday Italian, but I don't see any way to cook that many wedges of pita bread in one layer on 1 standard-sized baking sheet. Even the un-halved pita wedges barely fit in a single layer on 1 sheet).

You could also serve this dip with other chips, crackers, or bread, if you don't want to bake your own pita chips.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: about 12 to 15 minutes
Yield: about 1 cup of dip, and about 2 cups of chips (approximately 6 appetizer servings)

4 pita breads, cut into 8 wedges each
2 Tbsp plus 1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
1 garlic clove

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the pita wedges on a foil-lined baking sheet, and brush with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with the oregano, and 1 tsp each salt and pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, then turn the wedges over and bake until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, combine the beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, and the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped, then add the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil through the feed tube with the machine running. Process until the mixture is creamy. Season the purée with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve the dip at room temperature, with warm or room-temperature pita chips.

If making 1 day ahead, cover and refrigerate the bean dip. Store the pita chips in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

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©2005 Colleen Flippo. All rights reserved. Contact the author.