Provoleta, a thick slice of grilled provolone cheese, frequently graces the appetizer section of menus at parrillas (Argentine steakhouses). The grill imparts the cheese with a smoky flavor and some nice grill marks, but it definitely takes a bit of finesse to get it right. In other words, if things don't go well, get ready to clean melted cheese off the bottom of your grill instead of off your plate.
If you're not sure your grilling skills are up to task or you simply don't have a grill at your disposal, provoleta rellena (stuffed provolone) is a tantalizing alternative to grilled provolone. This oven-baked version combines a trio of flavorful ingredients that complement the cheese but don't overpower it. Besides, everyone should enjoy some gooey, melted cheese now and then, lack of grilling prowess notwithstanding.
This recipe for stuffed provolone is inspired by the blog Asado Argentina. If you're curious about Argentine-style barbecue, I strongly urge you to check out this site. The photos alone are drool-inducing.
Stuffed Provolone with Sautéed Onions, Prosciutto and Roasted Red Peppers | Provoleta Rellena
Adapted from a recipe by Asado Argentina
Serves 2 to 3 people
Note: Exact amounts aren't mission critical here. Go with what your gut tells you – literally.
2 slices of aged provolone cheese, each about 3/4" thick
1 small red pepper, roasted* and cut into strips
1 small onion, julienned
2-3 slices of prosciutto, torn into pieces
ají molido (substitute red pepper flakes)
*If you're unfamiliar with the process of making roasted peppers, take a look here.
Take the cheese out of the refrigerator about an hour before assembling the dish. It will melt faster if it's not stone cold when it goes into the oven.
Heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add the onions along with a dash of salt and pepper. Sauté the onions for about 15-20 minutes, until they reach a golden brown color.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly oil an ovenproof dish – a small earthenware or ceramic dish will work best – and place one slice of provolone at the bottom. Continue by layering the sautéed onions, prosciutto and roasted red peppers. Cap off your creation with the other slice of cheese, and dust the top with a bit of oregano and ají molido (or red pepper flakes).
Place the dish in the oven and cook until the cheese is bubbling around the edges and appears to have almost completely melted, approximately 15 minutes. Place the dish under the broiler for another 30 seconds or so to brown the top.
Enjoy your provoleta rellena with some crusty bread, or just go for the gusto and eat it straight off the plate.
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