Total prep time: about 15 minutes
Total cook time: 30 minutes
This is a great recipe from my “Food and Wine Quick from Scratch Recipes with Herbs and Spices” cookbook. It focuses on using the spice paprika. As a child, my only memory of paprika as a cooking ingredient was when my Mom would sprinkle it on top of the homemade potato salad to make it look pretty. Now, as an adult I’ve happily discovered many other delicious uses for this nifty little spice. I do love these food and wine quick from scratch cookbooks because they take basic, fresh ingredients and put them together to create a delicious meal. This recipe is unique because it pairs sausage and potatoes together in a quesadilla. When I first prepared this recipe, I was skeptical of how it would turn out, it sounded like a bizarre combination… It made sound weird, but it tastes incredible. The prep work can be a little labor intensive but it is all worth it in the end. These are delicious all by themselves or if you prefer, you can add some sour cream or salsa.
Here is what you will need:
1 pound of Italian sausage, casings removed (use the hot if you want yours to be spicy)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of cooking oil
1 large baking potato (about ½ pound), peeled and cut into ¼ inch cubes
¾ teaspoon of paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
12, 6 inch flour tortillas
¼ cup chopped red onion
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 cups Monterey Jack (or fiesta blend cheese), shredded/grated
Preheat the oven to 425. In a large, nonstick frying pan, cook the Italian sausage over medium high heat, making sure to break up the chunks as it cooks. Cook it for about 8-10 minutes or until it is browned. Remove it from the pan to a separate bowl and set it aside. Pour off the fat from the pan but don’t wash or wipe out the pan. You want the little brown sausage bits for your next step. Heat the 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the potato, ½ teaspoon of the paprika and the salt and cook, stirring occasionally until they are tender (about 15 minutes). They should be a nice reddish/brown color and a little crispy on the outside.
Put 4 of the tortillas on a cookie sheet (I have to use 2 cookie sheets because my pans are small). Divide half of the sausage, potato, onion, cilantro, and cheese on the four tortillas, making sure you spread the ingredients to the edges. Top each one with another tortilla. Then repeat with the remaining sausage, potato, onion, cilantro and cheese. Top with each one with one more tortilla. Brush the tops of the quesadillas with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil and sprinkle them with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of paprika. Bake them in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and they are golden brown. Cut them into little wedges and enjoy!
Vegetarian Version: For our resident vegetarian, I used the imitation soy sausage (preparing the recipe exactly the same way) and she loved it.
Milk Allergy or Sensitivity: If you are sensitive or allergic to dairy, you can omit the cheese and it is still quite delicious. Our son is allergic to milk but he loves it when Mommy cooks the “triangles” (sans cheese).