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Culinary Tour 2010 • Argentina

January 30, 2010 by Joan Nova in Culinary Tour Around the World, Family-Size Meals, Italian, Meat, Pasta, Vegetables | 28 Comments

I’m a lot like Argentina. We are both the product of Spanish and Italian immigrants and we both have a decidedly Latin vibe coursing through our beings. It’s no wonder I’m planning my third visit to Buenos Aires in October. There’s a natural affinity.

Buenos Aires is a large, beautiful and complex city. I could never do it justice here with a few lines or paragraphs so I decided to do something different for this stop on the tour.

I’m “inviting” all of you to dinner. Just come along with me as I present a family dinner I imagine would be served in a fashionable and exclusive apartment in the Recoleta area. The family would be descendants of Italian immigrants. Perhaps the occasion would be a birthday celebration –  as it was in my home this weekend when my family gathered for this meal. Tuck your napkin under your chin and follow me…

We start with baked empanadas and Argentine wine.

Baked Chicken Empanada made with shredded chicken which had been cooked in a slow cooker with sour orange juice, Corona beer, mojo marinade, Sazón, olives, raisins and red onion (made and brought to the party by Jim.)

Whole Wheat Gnocchi baked with pasta sauce, fresh spinach, and mozzarella. Topped with toasted crumbs made with panko, ground almonds, parmesan and nutmeg. A drizzle of olive oil. 

Pasta Sauce. Squeezed San Marzano tomatoes, onions and garlic fried in olive oil, fresh basil, house seasoning. Some people add a little sugar to their sauce but I prefer to cook it with a whole carrot for natural sweetness.

Matambre (a contraction of mata hambre; def. kill the hunger). This is generally a flank steak stuffed with a variety of ingredients, most popularly hard-boiled eggs and vegetables. Cooking for 19 people, I took some liberties. Instead of flank steak which would have been too unwieldy, I purchased 2 eye round roasts and made a pocket in each for the stuffing. Our stuffing was porchetta (the leftover butt from Christmas), prunes, fresh mint, pimentoes and Spanish olives. It was certain to “mata el hambre”!

Chimichurri Sauce. I usually just ‘wing it’, but this time I decided to follow a recipe from Asado Argentina.

Burnt Carrots with warm goat cheese on an arugula + parsley salad. This is renowned Argentine chef Francis Mallman’s recipe. I chose not to include the garlic chips, switched red wine vinegar to balsamic and baked both the carrots and cheese in the oven.

Pane di Aglio (roasted garlic crostini.) Whole head of garlic roasted in oven till soft and buttery, then squeezed and blended with olive oil. Brush on ciabatta bread, salt and toast.

Eggplant Rollatini with baby bellas and porcini mushrooms which had been soaked in sweet vermouth and sauteed with olive oil and garlic before blending with a little tomato sauce. Eggplant slices stuffed and rolled with a blend of Italian cheeses (predominantly ricotta), beaten egg, and seasonings. Topped with a little shredded mozzarella, parmesan and the mushroom sauce. Bake till bubbly. [Recipe Update: I sliced the eggplants lengthwise and microwaved them on a tray instead of grilling or frying them. No oil used. Then did the usual filling, rolling and baking.]

Dessert. At this point, we go off-theme with 2 pies (key lime and cherry) so we’ll go off-camera as well.

I hope you enjoyed our dinner in Buenos Aires. We sure did! :)

Round-Up: February 3.

Next Stop: Brazil, February 8

Event Details

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. norma says:

    Che amiga….this was so beatifully prepared and photographed…..Thank you

  2. Erica says:

    I made matambre for this tour…. I will be posting later today or tomorrow morning!All those dishes look fantastic.

  3. Dorothy says:

    Great presentation, makes me want to make the trip even more.

  4. Arlene says:

    I’m stuffed, Joan, but deliriously happy. I love your take on eggplant rollantine and gnocchi, in particular.

  5. Ed Schenk says:

    Great piece. I remember reading that there is even a pizza tradition in Argentina.

  6. Robin Sue says:

    Joan I have been boiling, boiling, boiling this can of sweetened condensed milk now for 3 hours, one more to go for some creamy dulce de leche for the dessert I am making on this trip. See you soon!

  7. Thank you so much for inviting us Joan. I have “a full belly and a happy heart.”

  8. Alisa says:

    A wonderful feast! I just love reading your posts

  9. Liz says:

    All looks terrific, especially the carrots and the eggplant. Photos are great. Thanks.

  10. redkathy says:

    A carrot for natural sweetness, Joan you are brilliant! Exquisite dinner. The gnocci look out of this world delicious. Can’t wait till the 3rd.

  11. lindaraxa says:

    I am blessed to have great Argentinian friends with whom to enjoy this fabulous food when I go to BA! Luigi Bosca is one of my favorites and the cab is delicious too. great value.

  12. Sorry but I am missing out on Argentina this week! Your feasts are truly amazing Joan! The burnt carrots really grabbed my eye though!

  13. What a gorgeous meal Joan. Nineteen people is a lot of people. Wow.

    I’m really enjoying your culinary tour.

  14. How stunning is this spread………..Loving it,big time! My post will be up in about half an hour….♥

  15. Susan says:

    The burnt carrot, goat cheese and arugula dish looks absolutely beautiful. Lovely photograph

  16. outoftheoven says:

    The burnt carrot and goat cheese dish looks intriguing. At what temperature/length of time does it bake for?

    • Joan says:

      Not too long if you cut them thin and go at a high temperature (maybe 15-20 minutes). I also put the broiler on for a few minutes to get the extra ‘burnt’ look. The cheese goes very fast so you have to watch that. I did them separately and just composed them over the dressed salad. Alternatively carrots can be done on a grill or in a skillet stove-top.

  17. Katie says:

    All of the dishes look incredible, Joan! I like how you took classic Argentine fare and gave it a twist. I’m itching to try that burnt carrot dish.

    I have to ask though…where’s the dulce de leche? ;) It’s not dessert in Argentina without some dulce de leche.

    Greetings from Necochea, Argentina!


  18. doggybloggy says:

    everything looks so good and I can see why the burnt carrots are so popular – bravo!

  19. Joan says:

    Thanks for all your comments and for buzzing my carrot dish up to Top 9 on FoodBuzz.

  20. A terrific feast! I would love to try every one of these Argentinean specialties!

  21. Lori says:

    These all look delicious. I am so happy to have found your blog. Great idea.

  22. Lori Lynn says:

    Joan – that is one amazing meal. Your culinary tours are exceptional!

  23. What a gorgeous feast. I love the idea of “burnt” carrots. So yummy to me and I hate using that word yummy.

  24. What a fabulous spread… I especially love the beef flank, which is similar to our Filipino dish called Beef Morcon.
    IM glad I found my way to your site via Lori’s tweet. I will be back more often!

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