Friday, May 22, 2009

Spetzofai se Kantaifi -- Sausage and Peppers over Kataifi

Spetzofai (sausage and peppers) is a common enough dish but one I don't think I can easily get tired of. It's definitely a rustic dish and one a little less visually appealing than a food blogger might like, but when done right it can be unbelievably flavorful.

I came across this recipe on the Greek Web site Kathimerini and thought it was a great twist to the traditional Spetzofai. Kataifi is typically used in Greek desserts but there are so many savory applications it can be used towards as well (see these Shrimp Wrapped in Kataifi). So, when some friends came by for an impromptu Friday night dinner a couple of weeks ago, I gave this Spetzofai over Kataifi a shot ... and made just a few minor changes along the way.

Since Easter, I feel like we've been on a meat-eating spree and being that summer is here (I can't believe it's already Memorial Day weekend in the United States) it's time to tighten the reins. As such, I used some turkey sausage in this dish and although a much leaner and lighter version, I wasn't disappointed with the results. Saute the sausage with tons of onions, vibrant peppers and juicy tomatoes; layer it on top of some Kataifi (shredded Greek phyllo); top with some cheese and bake until heated through. You really can't go wrong.

Spetzofai se Kantaifi -- Sausage and Peppers over Kataifi
(Adapted from a recipe on
Serves 6

1/2 pound Kataifi (thawed)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 pounds turkey sausage, sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large red peppers, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced
2 medium/large tomatoes, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
6 ounces graviera (gruyere), cubed

Heat oil in a large skillet; add the sausage and the onions and saute until the sausage is browned. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Add the peppers and stir well. Pour in the diced tomatoes; cover the skillet and cook over low-medium heat for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a baking dish and layer the bottom of the dish with kataifi (pulling the kataifi apart with your fingers as you go). Drizzle the kataifi with a little olive oil; top with the sausage mixture and add the cubed cheese on top. Bake until the kataifi is golden in color.


Peter G said...

Great thinking Maria...kataifi has certainly come a long way! I totally love this combination and it would be perfect for our current cooler weather.

Anonymous said...

I've never had Kataifi and would love to try. The sausage and peppers sound delicious!

Konstantina said...

I was thinking about Spetzofai the other day, what a coincidence! I had never thought about it over Kataifi, but it looks great!

Ivy said...

I've tried Spetsofai but never made it at home. This version sounds much better than the classic one.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i've never been creative enough to use kataifi in savoury dishes - this looks delicious

Peter M said...

I'm digging all the savory uses of Kataifi...this one now included.

I first had Spestofai in Volos back in 1980, a wonderful dish from nearby Pelion.

Janet @Gourmet Traveller88 said...

It sounds so yummy but don't know how I can get Kantaifi here in Switzerland though. Hope I can try one day in the future.

FoodJunkie said...

Although I am not a big fan of sausages, I think that I would enjoy the turnkey version. kataifi is such a great ingredient to work with

Núria said...

I love the colours and the ingredients of your Spetzofai Maria! Never heard about it before but I could happily be one of your guests ;D

Yemekbahane said...

Iasu Maria,

I had seen your blog by chance and it took me home, this is great.
I am Turkish but I always feel myself half Greek.I have a big big family living in Thessaloniki, they are really closer than any other real relatives for me.
Mama mou :)(the greek one) always cooks great Great meals and your blog has reminded me her. I'll be watching you by pleasure and will be trying aswell.
I have a blog too but unfortunately just in Turkish.
Good to see you.
Na se kala :)

Ben said...

I've seen this dish all over the blogosphere but I have never tried it. That twist sounds so good and the dish looks so easy to make that I don't have an excuse not to try it now :)