An Italian Chef Walks Into a Nacho Bar…

Chef Richard Hodge really loves nachos. Unfortunately, he works at an Italian restaurant, which makes putting them on his menu impossible. Or does it?

Hodge recently invented a way out of this horrific dilemma: pasta nachos, a new addition to his menu at Puccini & Pinetti in San Francisco.

Instead of nacho chips, Hodge takes wonton wrappers, cuts them into triangles, and fries until crispy. Then he tops them with housemade fennel sausage, a little salsa marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and bakes until the cheese melts. Once cooked, it’s topped with diced Serrano chilies, tomatoes, shredded basil and red onion. Italian nachos — they really do exist! Hodge was kind enough to share his recipe.

Pasta Nachos

Makes 4 servings

1 package wonton wrappers (cut in ½ diagonally to make triangles)
2 cups marinara
1 pound cooked ground Italian spicy sausage
2 cups grated mozzarella
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
1 large tomato diced
¼ cup chiffonade basil leafs
1 small red onion, diced

Fry wonton triangles in 350 degree oil until crispy.
Drain on paper towel and let cool.
Combine marinara and Italian sausage together and cook until hot.
In a separate bowl mix peppers, onion, tomato and basil together.
Divide the crispy wonton triangles equally between 4 oven safe bowls or medium sized plates.
Spoon equal amounts of the marinara and sausage mix over the wonton wrappers on the 4 plates.
Sprinkle equal amounts of cheese over the 4 plates.
Cook under broiler until the cheese is melted.
Be careful — the wonton chips will burn quickly!
Once the cheese is melted, garnish with the pepper, tomato and basil salsa.

Got any crazy nacho variations of your own? Do tell!

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