At Don Angie, Focaccia di Recco Meets Scallion Pancake

By Morgan Katz

By

Morgan Katz
Don Angie's irresistible Ligurian-style flatbread is stuffed with cheese and garlic and covered with sesame.
Don Angie's irresistible Ligurian-style flatbread is stuffed with cheese and garlic and covered with sesame.

Unless you’re prepared to eat at 10:30pm on a Tuesday, snagging a reservation at Manhattan’s Don Angie is a labor of love. To kickoff the latest StarChefs Congress on a recent Sunday morning in October, the chefs of the red-hot red sauce spot, New York Rising Stars Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, shared the technique behind one of their most popular dishes: Ligurian-inspired, cheesy, garlicky flatbread—another labor of love, revealed for attendees only.     

“Angie came up with the idea. She’s the brilliant one. She comes up with all the ideas,” said Tacinelli of his partner in life and business. The bread is based on traditional focaccia di recco. The Don Angie addition is healthy amounts of garlic and sesame seeds. 

They walked the audience through the delicate process of stretching the dough—so thin you could read a newspaper through it. The key to successfully stretching it across the 10-inch pan is allowing the dough to rest for two hours. Be patient(!), or it’ll shrink. A combination of garlic, garlic chives, chile flakes, salt, and olive oil blanketed the dough, followed by hefty handfulls of parmesan and stracchino cheeses. That was topped with another thin layer of stretched dough, sealing in the cheese and seasonings. Referring to the circle of stuffed dough as their mashup of focaccia di recco and a scallion pancake, the duo demonstrated how to finish the dough with a brush of olive oil and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. 

After a quick respot in a 500℉ combination oven on dry heat for four minutes, the bread emerged golden with melty cheese peeking seductively from the seams. The room was engulfed in a cloudburst of garlic. Attendees shared the experience of ripping into the bread together—this time with cheese, not dough, stretching acrobatically across prep tables and into gaping mouths. This supremely satisfying Ligurian-ish treat falls into the category of foods that are so good you want to devour it in private, while your face becomes shiny with olive oil and cheese grease (say, one minute later in the StarChefs office). All in all, the bread proved itself worthy of a meal at 10:30pm on Tuesday.      

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