The first time I went to Argentina, I was rushed by my in laws immediately to a pizza joint. At that point, I’d had barely enough time to shake off the jet lag, but here I was standing in a brightly lit, jam packed Pizza joint called “El Cuartito” somewhere by the opera house (I vaguely remember somebody calling out “Teatro Colon” as we sped by).
Of course by now I’m a little groggy and my wits had slowly begun to return. I noticed the Football memorabilia all over the walls, some boxing posters and even some pictures of movie stars. Mostly this was all a blur. They led me to a long table where we all sat down and they order some pizza. Honestly, I didn’t expect much. They ordered me a bottle of Stella Artois and the most incredibly huge beer bottle I’ve ever seen arrived. My interest was now piqued. They ordered a fugazetta pizza, an onion pizza stuffed with a triple cream cheese. Naturally I was dubious. It arrived at the table and looked edible. It even smelled good. They removed a slice to my plate and I was about to dig in when I got the “espera, espera” – which, loosely translated means “hold on gringo, we aren’t through fixing your plate yet”. Next arrived a plate of slices of a garbanzo flour torte they called faina. They took one of these things and plopped it on top of my slice, which was now oozing cheese from the middle of it.
Never had I seen such a thing! I’m a curious cuss by nature, so I took a fork full of the two together and shoved it in my mouth. It was luxurious. It was rich. It had an nutty, earthy component from the faina. A powerful wave of deliciousness had washed over my senses and my mind was transported to parts unknown. My eyes rolled back in my head. I was on the verge of weeping when my senses returned. I polished that thing off in about a minute. I had to get a recipe for this faina stuff, so I found one while I was there that is quite passable. Best of all, it’s really simple to prepare. I haven’t been able to replicate the fugazetta although I’ve come pretty close. Anyhow, for the curious minded adventurous cook, here’s the way I make it. It passes the In-Law test so it must be ok.
<Recipe Coming – have to covert the ingredients into US measures – give me a day or two>