In our house, quesadillas are the ultimate quick comfort food. If you aren’t familiar with quesadillas, think Mexican version of a grilled cheese sandwich—toasted flour tortillas with melty cheese filling. I am the quesadilla queen (at least in my own mind), having held that title since college where I regularly cooked up massive quesadillas on burrito sized tortillas with tons of add-ins for myself and friends. So when a friend recently mentioned the idea of a quesadilla pie, I didn’t even wait for the recipe, I knew what to do. The two basic ingredients of a quesadilla are cheese (queso is cheese in Spanish) and tortillas, either flour or corn, though usually in the U.S. quesadillas are made with flour tortillas. My version of a quesadilla pie is a casserole made in a pie dish with stacked flour tortillas and layers of cheesy filling, baked until browned and crispy. The beauty of quesadilla pie is that it’s a great way to use up leftovers and odds and ends. The essentials are the tortillas and the cheese; after that it’s up to you as to the variety and type of filling you want. Black beans are good, as are onions, chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, or summer squash. All can be layered in with the cheese. Add as much chile as you want for heat and flavor.
Quesadilla Pie Recipe
Brush butter on the bottom of the pan to keep the tortillas from sticking, and to the top of the last tortilla for flavor and to help it brown. Hint: do not skip the butter.
- 4 large flour tortillas (9-10 inches diameter)
- 1/2 pound grated cheese, either mild or sharp cheddar, or Monterey Jack
Potential filling ingredients:
- Beans, cooked (black beans, pinto beans)
- Tomatoes, chopped
- Summer squash, chopped
- Onions (green onions, red onions, onion greens)
- Mushrooms (if using a lot, sauté first, to remove moisture)
- Cooked shredded chicken, pork, or beef
- Chiles, either from cooked green chiles, chopped pickled jalapenos, or salsa
- Cumin and/or chili powder for extra heat
- Chopped avocado
- Chopped cilantro
- Thinly sliced iceberg lettuce dressed with vinegar and salt
- Sour cream
1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the bottoms and sides of a pie dish, approximately the same size as your tortillas (I used a 10-inch pyrex pie dish for 10-inch wide tortillas).
2 Place one tortilla on the bottom of the pie dish. Sprinkle some shredded cheese over the tortilla. At this point, you will begin to add your chosen filling ingredients, and layering the tortillas. Just make sure each layer has a generous sprinkling of cheese. In the pictured example, I used cheese, black beans, and onion greens on the first layer. Then I added another tortilla on top of that and put chopped zucchini, chopped tomato, chopped pickled jalapenos, and more shredded cheese. I also sprinkled a little cumin and chili powder on this layer. I added another tortilla and put more shredded cheese, more black beans, tomatoes and onions. Top off your layers with one last flour tortilla. Spread a little butter over the surface of this tortilla.
3 Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Put in oven for 30 minutes on 350°F. Then remove the foil and increase the heat to 400°F. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into quarters.
Serve with chopped avocados, shredded lettuce, cilantro, salsa, and/or sour cream.
Yield: Serves 4.