Terilli’s warm grilled chicken pasta salad. (Photo by Mark Davis)

Terilli’s warm grilled chicken pasta salad. (Photo by Mark Davis)

Terilli’s roasted red bell pepper dressing

Terilli’s is one of Lower Greenville’s signature restaurants, surviving longer than most on the increasingly hip block. When Jeannie Terilli first opened the business 31 years ago, she wanted to blend her Texas upbringing with her family’s deep Italian roots.

“My recipes are my dad’s recipes,” she told the Advocate in 1998. “I had three brothers, and my mother and father worked. It was my job to have dinner ready when everybody got home. That’s how I got into food.”

Serving up classic Italian with a Texas twist proved a popular practice for the East Dallas eatery. The dish that put her on the map was “Italchos,” and it’s easy to see why — the Italian spin on nachos is like a deconstructed pizza with chips made from dough topped with cheeses, meats and veggies.

Fans of the fusion flavors were briefly devastated in March of 2010 when a four-alarm fire rang out at the Lower Greenville complex that housed Terilli’s. While the restaurant suffered extensive damage, it rose like a Phoenix the following year, this time with a rooftop deck. Today the classic dishes on which the business staked its reputation remain in heavy rotation.

That includes several dishes that feature Terilli’s signature roasted red bell pepper dressing, a creamy and tangy blend that goes with just about everything. You’ll find it on the restaurant’s warm grilled chicken pasta salad, but Terilli says it can also be used as a pasta sauce or as a marinade.

Terilli’s roasted red bell pepper dressing (makes about 10 cups)

5 cups mayonnaise
4 cups roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons shallots (minced)
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Juice of two lemons
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
3 tablespoon fresh dill

To roast the red peppers, coat them with olive oil and place on a baking sheet under the broiler until the skin blackens. Cut open and remove seeds and outer layer. Blend all of the ingredients together in a food processor. Refrigerate.

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