Recipe: Italian Nacho Tacos {Celebrate National Taco Day!}

by Cate on October 1, 2012

Italian Nacho Tacos

I overheard my son on the phone with The Ex.

“I don’t know what Mommy made for dinner, but it’s really, really good. Like sooo good. Some sort of tacos. But not the normal kind.”

These are the types of conversations a Mom longs to hear.

No, they weren’t the “normal” kind of tacos, but they were about three and a half levels of deliciousness past that.

It all started with an e-mail. “Can you develop a recipe for us to celebrate National Taco Day? And use California black olives as an ingredient?”

Yes and yes.

Recipe development is one of my favorite things to do.

And a recipe to celebrate tacos?

Yes, please.

So then I started brainstorming. I wanted something completely different. Like “outside of the box and around the corner down the street” kind of different.

My mind leapt to these amazing nachos we used to get at Macaroni Grill when they first opened. Years and years ago. They were amazeballs good. Before you wonder how nachos ended up at the Macaroni Grill to begin with, they were not your mother’s nachos. An Italian riff on them, they were completely different (and unfortunately they are no longer offered on their menu).

And so the inspiration for these tacos was born. I wanted to recreate those nachos but put them in a handy little taco vehicle. All the better to get them to your mouth.


The first time I had those nachos was also my first introduction to Asiago cheese. So these tacos had to have that. I created a cheese sauce similar to the one that I used on the Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza recipe I shared recently, with a slight variation on the buttery, garlicky goodness. Like “hang a left and go down Asiago Boulevard.”

Oh yes.

Then the crumbled sausage, the tender bite of black olives, the unexpected tang of the banana peppers, the slight crisp of the scallions, and oh. A little more cheese for good measure.

As Nick said, it’s really, really good.

So make ‘em to celebrate National Taco Day on October 4. Or to stir up memories of a delicious Macaroni Grill appetizer. Or because you want to turn tacos on their head.

Or make ‘em for the very best reason at all. Just because.

Join Kitchen PLAYCalifornia Ripe Olives and some of your favorite food bloggers for a Twitter Party on October 16th, 7:00 PM EDT. Learn about this tasty, nutritious and versatile food. Have fun testing your olive knowledge. Win great olive prizes! Register here.

Beginning October 1, read all ten posts at Kitchen PLAY celebrating National Taco Day with California Ripe Olives for clues. Each post contains an “olive fact” that may appear as a trivia question during the Twitter Party. A new post and fact will be revealed each day, Monday through Friday, until October 12.

My CA Ripe Olive fact: California produces more than 95% of the olives grown in the U.S.

PS This post went up much earlier than usual today, so if you missed yesterday’s post, be sure to check it out here (and enter the giveaway!).

Italian Nacho Tacos
Recipe courtesy of Cate O’Malley

Taco Ingredients:
Four whole grain taco shells
3/4 lb pork sausage, cooked (crumbled into bite size pieces), drain and set aside
1/2 cup halved California black olives
3-4 scallions, diced
banana peppers

Cheese Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cups shredded Asiago cheese

While the cheese sauce is cooking (see recipe below), warm up the tacos. Once done, layer all the ingredients into the tacos … sausage, cheese sauce, black olives, banana peppers, scallions, and more cheese sauce. Devour.

Cheese Sauce:
In a small saucepan, melt three tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for five minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until thickened a bit. Add the Asiago, slowly, giving it time to melt as you add it.

Stir until all the cheese is melted and smooth. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon of milk until the desired consistency is reached.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my time and efforts to participate in this Kitchen PLAY event. All opinions and experiences are my own. But you know that already.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ramona October 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm

That’s the best compliment you can get from a kid….when they tell somebody how good their meal was.


Joanne October 2, 2012 at 6:50 am

I would DEFINITELY prefer these to regular tacos! I’m all about the Italian flavors :)
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Curried Carrot Soup with Roasted Pepitas


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