Italian Quesadilla -Anti Chef

-sounds pretty wrong huh?, -Italian quesadilla. Well it is not. I made this the other night after years of slow build up. It seems that many different facets of alrightitude needed to align themselves in my thick head before I finally just went for this one. I used a regular old 10" flour tortilla, some leftover meat sauce, ricotta cheese and a little sprinkle of shredded cheddar. Simple.

I mention the build up, so I will give you a little background on that statement. I have worked in both Mexican and Italian establishments. I would never make the mistake of generalizing, as there are many different avenues of culinary wonder to explore in either cultures gastronomy, but I can't help but point out a couple of similarities I have found hard to not notice (and obsess over like a mad person). Both cultures use a lot of tomatoes, and tomato based sauces/condiments. Both cuisines feature a fairly constant grain based staple.(albeit one comprised mainly of corn and the other wheat) And both will often garnish their respectively wonderful offerings with some type of cheese. So I guess it's not that hard at all to figure out why I have always been at the ready when considering a little fantastical gastro-clash. I have even brainstormed the opening of an Italian/Mexican Eatery to feature the mixing and matching of the two countries' best, presented in a whimsical yet tasty way that only my mind could conceive. If not an Italian Quesadilla, then how about a Mexican Calzone? Why not combine the chile relleno with the body of a squid, and do a some "turducken" magic on a tiny little scale. Calamari Rellano? Shrimp, stuffed inside a roasted pepper, stuffed inside of a squid and roasted tender? You have all eaten worse. Look, I make a meat sauce from an old family recipe that is so good that I used to sneak it by the coffee cup full as a kid. Seriously, after dinner, I would ladle it in, top it with grated parma and go eat it with a spoon like chili. I have even dipped tortilla chips into it cold, I know, sounds scary...but it's gooooood. So to heat it up, and dollop it all over a nice buttery-crispy, ricotta-smeared melty and chewy-gooey tortilla...?...well, for me it was far too logical a leap to take. My kid loved it too, what she could get of it, that is. SO--->

easy peasy instructions :

-heat up some leftover meat sauce for adding to the mix when it is ready, about 1/2 cup

-get a non-stick saute pan, or counter top griddle, or something else you like to cook with nice and hot.

-throw in a big splat of butter, serious...you want extra rolling around there, getting brown, call it a tablespoon

-smear some ricotta cheese on the tortilla and place it in the buttery pan, swirl it around to coat with hot butter

-drop the hot meat sauce around on the warming, crisping, bubbling cheesy thing

-sprinkle a little cheddar, or parmesan if you like...and a pinch of salt and pepper

-fold it over carefully when the cheeses are melty and the tortilla is golden brown

- carefully remove from the pan, and if you want to, set it on a paper towel for a second to absorb any excess butter

And that's it. Cut it up, and make sure it's not blazing hot inside if you feed it to your kids. They don't like that so much, the unexpected molten hot cheese-meets-mouth thing.
You can mix and match this up however you would like. I had meat sauce, and I eat it in my sleep. But try this the traditional way if you want. Use leftover chicken breast, arugula, and brie for a nice change. Somebody's growing rocket, right? Use some fried flounder, minus the cheese and dip it in a nice chipotle and pickle remoulade. Put some old pad thai in there, and dip in a sauce made of pan roasted shiitake's, soy sauce and sour cream....believe it or not, even that tastes really, really, good. I worked at a place here on the beach for a good few years. I would mention the name, but the owner is a cheap skate. I do feel that I at least owe it to him to throw him a bone here with a little shout out, but I choose no...for now. Sorry Jim. But if any of you have ever eaten at a "Gour-Mex" restaurant, around milepost 5.5 here in the Kill Devil Hills area that used to win national awards for hot sauces and so forth, you got it. We used to feature a "quesadilla of the day" on the specials menu. And although he wouldn't admit it, Uncle Jojo did the pad thai quesadilla, or maybe it was laab. Either way the mushroom-soy-sour cream thing was involved, and was delicious. He wouldn't admit it because now he hates hyphens. So there you are Jojo. So there ya go, Mr. OBX. And there YOU go, hungry mom's and dad's.  Now get going ! ! !

*kid approved.

1 comment:

  1. i'd like to try these on piadina bread as well, the italians' flatbread. i've had a po'boy on it, so what the hell.