These cheese straws remind me of the parties my mother would frequently throw when I was a young girl. Her tables were sumptuous and she would always set up an aperitif bar in the living room for guests to nibble as they sipped their cocktails. These were my favorite because they looked so elegant and tasted delicious. They would make a great starter for an Oscar party!
Cheese Straws a la Puttanesca
1 package puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup minced black olives
1 tablespoon capers, minced
1 onion, sliced into thin rounds
1 medium egg, beaten
1 tablespoon anchovies, minced into a paste
3/4 grated parmesan (or more to taste)
1 28 oz can of diced Italian tomatoes
Salt and black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and sauté the minced garlic cloves for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes at medium heat. Add the minced capers, minced black olives,and the minced anchovies to the pan and stir to blend.
While the sauce is cooking, caramelize the sliced onion. Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in small pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and cook 10 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the onion and cook for another 10 minutes at low heat. Set aside.
Continue to simmer the sauce at medium-low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. If the sauce is still too liquid, continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove sauce from the heat and add salt and black pepper if necessary. You may not need to add any salt as the anchovies and olives are already salty.
To form the cheese straws, roll out the puff pastry on a piece of parchment paper in to a rectangle, 3mm thick. Cover the puff pastry with the beaten egg. Add a thin layer of the puttanesca sauce onto the pastry, followed by half the caramelized onions and grated parmesan cheese. Fold the pastry in half and roll out once again to a 3mm thickness. Repeat the process of spreading the beaten egg, the sauce, onions and cheese. Fold the pastry in half once more, and roll out to same thickness as before. Seal the edges of the pastry and brush with egg one final time. Cover with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375.
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and using a sharp knife, cut into long strips about 1/2 inch wide.
Twist the pastry several times on both ends to form a spiral. Place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Leave 1/2 inch apart as they will puff up. Top with extra cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
Note: The extra sauce can be used in a pasta dish or to top a piece of fish for dinner!