Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Carino's Italian Nachos

I know.... sounds strange... Italian nachos? But if you've ever been to Carino's (formerly Johnny Carino's) and ordered their Italian Nachos appetizer, you know they are SOOOO tasty! Seriously....
So, why not make them at home?

All I did in my attempts to recreate this masterpiece was first, look at the description of Carino's Italian Nachos on their online menu:

"Crispy pasta chips, Italian sausage, and/or chicken, olives, pepperoncinis, tomatoes, jalapeƱos, alfredo, mozzarella and parmesan cheese"

Cristpy pasta chips.... hmmm.... after searching the store for fresh pasta sheets (with no success) I thought of something else I had that I could substitute. Uncooked flour tortillas-- no not just your ordinary package of tortillas, but uncooked, flattened, rounds of dough ready to be cooked into tortillas. In Utah you can buy these at most grocery stores, and definitely at Costco. When I moved out to Ohio I was devastated to find that they did not carry them in the Costco here. Over the past year and a half I have been bringing them with me from Utah when I go to visit! BUT, don't worry... any of you Ohioans.... you aren't out of luck. When I went to Costco here last month, I saw that they had FINALLY decided to order them!!!! Hooray!

So, here is what I do:

If you like deep frying stuff, you can go ahead and deep fry some chips. However, for the sake of 1) less mess and 2) a healthier alternative,  I just bake them instead.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Stack up a few tortillas . Poke several holes in the tortillas with a fork (so that the chips don’t puff up and become all hollow when you bake them).

Use a pizza cutter (or a knife) to cut 8 wedges out of each tortilla. (like you’re cutting a pizza)

Separate all the triangles. Toss all the “chips” in olive oil until they are all lightly coated
OR after putting them in a single layer on a pan, spray them with olive oil spray.
OR..... now that I think of it.... it would probably be easy to just brush the tortillas with the oil BEFORE you cut them..... hmmm..... why have I never thought of that before?

Put chips in single layer on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt if desired.

Put in oven for 4 to 6 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Keep an eye on them! They are done when they are crisp like a chip :) Use your judgement.

You may have to do a few batches, depending how many chips you want.

Italian Sausage
This is NOT the same as breakfast sausage. Make sure it says ITALIAN sausage. You can usually find it by the other ground meats. We use hot, but you can use mild if you don't like things too hot. If you can't find just a package of ground italian sausage, you can buy the uncooked Italian sausage links, and just remove the casings off the sausage links.
Brown and break up the sausage in a skillet.
Alfredo Sauce-- store bought or homemade

Tomatoes chopped

Green onion chopped

Sliced olives

Canned sliced jalapenos and/or pepperoncinis (we usually just use jalapenos)

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Shredded parmesan cheese

Fresh basil chopped

Layer on baking sheet-- chips, sausage, alfredo sauce, veggies, then top with shredded cheeses.

Place in the oven just until cheeses melt.

Top with fresh basil and devour!!!!!

Usually I end up serving a little extra alfredo sauce on the side, in case there wasn't quite enough on the nachos to begin with.

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