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For our "Bestaurants" show, Rach and her guests, chefs Jeff Mauro and Curtis Stone, each riff on a recipe from one of their favorite (or "best") restaurants. Jeff chose the Chihuahua fundido with chorizo and mushrooms from Maria's Mexican Restaurant in Chicago, where they serve the melted cheese mixture in a big fried tortilla shell alongside warm flour tortillas. In Jeff's version, he goes the Italian-American route, making what he calls a pizza fundido, with provolone, giardiniera, sundried tomato pesto, sausage and pepperoni. He also makes homemade flour tortilla chips for dipping and coats them in barbecue chip dust, but feel free to use your favorite store-bought tortilla chips. 

Note that Jeff's online butcher shop, Mauro Provisions, sells barbecue chip dust, as well as oil-packed giardiniera. 

Here's where you can find the other restaurant-inspired recipes from this show: Rach's Veal Francese and Curtis' Banana-Hazelnut Croissant Bread Pudding


For the Tortilla Chips:
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 6 to 8 flour tortillas
  • Barbecue Chip Dust (see note above)
For the Fundido:
  • 2 cups shredded Chihuahua cheese
  • ½ cup shredded provolone cheese
  • 1 cup hot giardiniera, drained of oil
  • 1 cup par-cooked (browned, but not cooked through) crumbled mild Italian sausage meat
  • ¼ cup sundried tomato pesto
  • ½ cup ¼-inch-diced pepperoni
  • Basil leaves, for garnish


Serves: 4 to 6


Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

For the tortilla chips, in a medium pot, heat a few inches of oil over medium-high heat to 375°F. 

Stack the tortillas and cut into even wedges. Place into oil a handful at a time and fry until slightly golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet pan to drain and immediately sprinkle with barbecue chip dust. 

For the fundido, in a large bowl, toss the cheeses with the giardiniera and par-cooked sausage, then transfer to a medium cast-iron skillet or brazier pan. Spoon the pesto in the center and top with the pepperoni.  

Bake until bubbly and golden brown. Top with basil and serve with the tortilla chips.