I’m watching the Puppy Bowl and snacking on my most successful insane culinary experiment ever.
The Origin Story:
At our house, the Superbowl is more an excuse to relax,snack and watch the commercials than anything. We wanted something different this year. Nachos came up as a suggestion but I wanted somthing other than the standard Tex-Mex snack. A quick Google search turned up Italian Nachos as a common spin on nachos.
“Italian” nachos use wonton wrappers for chips (apparently Chinese is more Italian than Latin is, LOL), alfredo sauce in place of salsa, grilled chicken and italian sausage for the meats, and then you can top with italian cheeses, diced tomatoes, parsley and whatever else sounds exciting and vaguely Italian, LOL.
It all sounded good, but today was the first day in ages that looked good for BBQing, and we wanted to make use of what we already had around the house. Tri-Tip quickly got substituted for the shredded chicken. Likewise, the normal Italian sausage got replaced by a chicken basil & black pepper sausage we had on hand.
The first thing I had to do was smoke the tri-tip. We had picked up a couple of prime grade pieces at Costco:
To move things along, they got my usual rub of salt, pepper and garlic powder, then slow cooked in the smoker. A few hours later:
If you’re not familiar with smoking, that probably looks raw. Smoking leaves red-pink smoke ring around the outside of the meat. Do it REALLY low and slow like I did, and the smoke coloring can permeate the entire piece of meat. I cooked the meat to a nearly perfect medium rare. The sausage above, I waited and cooked in a pan since I wasn’t sure how fast the beef would cook. Grilling times can vary with outside temperature and wind.
So with the tri-tip,we have our redneck aspect of our confused nachos. We used a bag of Tostitos corn chips instead of buying wonton wrappers. So we’ve added a little Latin influence. My next obstacle was Alfredo Sauce. The only bottled one I’ve tried that I didn’t hate was by Emerril. The stores here stopped carrying it since the philistines here prefer Ragu. That left me with making my own. Something I’ve never done before believe it or not. Well, it turned out fabulous! Enough so that, to paraphrase Scarlet O’Hara; “As God is my witness, I’ll never eat bottled Alfredo sauce again”. LOL.
I looked up a few recipes and then improvised my own:
Silk’s Cheesy Alfredo Sauce
3 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 cups of heavy cream
1 1/2 cups of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
(Yes, this makes some cheesy sauce)
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
Put the butter, olive oil and garlic into a medium saucepan on medium heat. When the butter and garlic start to brown, add the heavy cream. Give it a minute or so to warm, then add the cheeses, Cook until the cheeses are melted and smooth, then add in black pepper and stir. Give it a minute or so longer and it’s ready to go.
The only trick or caution is to stir frequently so nothing burns on the bottom of the pan. If it starts bubbling, reduce the heat also.
Spread some chips out on a plate, then ladle on the alfredo sauce, then add the sausage and tri-tip:
From there, you can add a little more alfredo sauce. Then I added grated parm, mozzarella, and smoked gouda cheese. After that top with onions, diced pepperoncini peppers, diced tomatoes, olives or whatever else sounds exciting.
I’m thrilled with the way this turned out. The beef, the sausage and the gouda all had a smoked flavor and blended together perfectly. The alfredo sauce will put Olive Garden to shame too, LOL.