Saturday Night Fever"
Tony Manero's 'Stayin' Alive' Mozzarella Marinara
Tony Manero knows Disco. Tony Manero also knows mozzarella. This is Tony's famed Mozzarella Marinara. Hey, you didn't think he danced 24-hours a day, did you?
You will need:
For the Marinara:
- 1 28-oz can Italian plum tomatoes, cut in quarters
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 anchovy filets, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- Chopped parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the Mozzarella:
- 6 sheets frozen filo dough (also spelled phyllo and fillo), defrosted
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 12 1-oz packages part-skim mozzarella (also labeled string cheese)
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup finely shredded fresh basil
- Whole fresh basil leaves for garnish
1. Prepare for a hot night: Preheat oven to 325?F. In a large mixing bowl, combine and toss together the tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, and garlic. Spread out the contents of the bowl on a large cookie sheet and roast for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Transfer to the work bowl of a food processor or blender and give no more than 3-4 short pulses. The sauce should still be somewhat chunky. Season with chopped parsley and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Cover and keep in a worm spot.
2. Dress up the mozzarella: Increase the oven temperature to 375F. Lay out 1 piece of filo on a clean, dry surface. (Keep the remaining pieces covered with a damp cloth until use or they will dry out and crack.) Cut 2 strips, 6-7 inches wide from the first sheet. Lay the strips side by side and brush both sides of each strip lightly with olive oil.
3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs and 1/2 teaspoon of basil evenly over the top of each strip. Center 1 piece of cheese at the end of the filo strip closest to you and roll up tightly. The filo-wrapped cheese should resemble a small cigar. Fold the ends under, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat process for each piece of the remaining cheese. Bake for 10 minutes until cigars are hot and crispy.
4. Strut your stuff: Lay out 6 warmed plates and make a pool of marinara in the center of each. Place 2 mozzarella cigars over the sauce and garnish with a basil leaf.