When we lived in Weeki Wachee the husband and I would frequent Johnny Carino’s Italian Restaurant. It was our get-away spot. We didn’t usually order a meal because we LOVED the Italian Nachos! (And we learned that if we sat in the bar area, even if we didn’t drink, appetizers were half price — a BONUS!).
From the Johnny Carino’s menu:
Crispy pasta chips baked with ground Italian sausage and/or sliced grilled chicken, pepperoncini peppers, black olives, roma tomatoes and jalapenos. Topped with creamy alfredo sauce, melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Now imagine my disappointment when all of the Central Florida area Johnny Carino’s suddenly shut their doors! No more nachos — for a few years now.
So before I started my most recent attempt to lose some flab before I turn (gulp) 40! in just over a month, I wanted to give in to that ongoing Italian nachos craving. (No, I’m not pregnant, thankyouverymuch).
I turned to my trusty internet and found….YES!!!!…a copycat recipe for my beloved nachos from Divine Domesticity. (To the best of my knowledge, I have never met you Ali, either in the blogosphere or real life, but I love you! Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this recipe. It really hit the spot!)
Here is her recipe:
Italian Nachos – Serves About 4
cut on the diagonal to form triangles
(sometimes found in the salad section) *
For the Cheese Sauce:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 2 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or other good-quality Parmesan
- In a heavy, medium saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and then the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the half-and-half little by little. Cook until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat; add 2 cups of the grated Parmesan. Season with the salt, pepper and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Cover and set aside.
- Heat a heavy saucepan or deep fryer to medium. Cook the wontons until light brown. This only takes a few seconds per side. Set aside on paper towels to drain.
- Pile the wontons on a large serving platter. Drizzle with warm cheese sauce. Add sausage, chicken, tomatoes, olives and peppers. Top with shaved Parmesan. EAT IT!
* Due to the fact that I’m a vegetarian, we omitted the chicken and sausage.