Dining at an Italian restaurant opens up your palette to a world of pastas, sauces, and fine meats. Just because you are dining Italian, doesn't mean your meal options are limited to just that cuisine. If you're in the mood for a little Mexican food, there are ways to infuse the spice and culture to a variety of traditional meals found on a typical Italian menu. A lot of times you can find these meals directly, while others require just a few extra toppings or ingredients.
Browse through five different ways to infuse Mexican flavor from the appetizer all the way to dessert.
Instead of using tortilla chips, traditional Mexican nachos have an Italian base for them at any many restaurants. Using a pasta-based wonton chip, Italian nachos mixes the best of both worlds. One common ground with these nachos is the variety of cheeses and spices. Cheese is melted right onto the nachos, along with some peppers.
Instead of traditional ground beef, Italian nachos uses an Italian sausage that is chopped into small pieces so they can be easily lifted with the wontons. To infuse even more Mexican flavor, request extra tomatoes and sour cream on the nacho platter.
Jalapeño Pasta Dishes
Add some Mexican flavors to any signature pasta dish by requesting the addition of jalapeño peppers. When the peppers sit in the pasta sauce, the flavor spreads and creates a great aroma that you can smell and taste with every bite. Depending on how much heat you can handle, try to limit yourself to five or six jalapeño slices. To infuse it at your pace, request a whole jalapeño on the side of your dish. This way, you can cut the pepper how you see fit.
Jalapeño peppers can also add a nice kick to seafood pasta dishes. For example, squeezing the pepper over some shrimp scampi is a nice way to add an extra kick to each bite.
Pizza is often a signature dish at Italian restaurants. By selecting your own toppings, you can easily transform a traditional Italian pizza into a Mexican pizza.
The best toppings to create a Mexican-styled pizza include finely chopped ground beef, tomatoes, and peppers. To make the pizza feel more like a taco shell, you can request a thin-crust pizza. This adds a crispy crunch. Request a side of sour cream to complete the Mexican pizza experience.
Bring Your Own Hot Sauce
For quick Mexican upgrade, bring your favorite hot sauce to the restaurant. This is easy to toss in a purse or bag and helps you add some spice to any meal on the Italian menu.
Hot sauce is a great add-on to Italian pasta, soups, or even appetizers like bread sticks.
Chocolate Cake Desserts
A lot of Italian restaurants are known for their rich and delicious chocolate cakes. One of the more common Mexican desserts is the empanada. The deep fried dessert is known for great flavors and a lot of fruit infusion.
When ordering a chocolate cake, there are multiple ways you can emulate the flavors and ingredients of an empanada. The outside of empanada desserts feature a cinnamon sugar coating. Request this type of topping for the top of the cake frosting.
You can also request a fruit topping like cherries or blueberries. At Italian restaurants, these toppings are normally made available for cheesecakes. Instead, you can have them placed on the chocolate cake to create the tastes of an empanada. The same two toppings also go great with an Italian dessert like tiramisu. The ladyfingers in tiramisu help emulate the dough from an empanada.
Take a good look over the restaurant menu to find other ways to infuse some Mexican flavors into your meal options. Once you find a meal you love, you can make your trademark order each time you visit the restaurant.