Chef Rosie on how she fuses her Dominican and American culture to add a twist to her cuisines

Chef Rosie Batista-Lora (@chefrosiebatista) brings together her Dominican and American cultures when creating dishes and recipes. In this episode of ITK: Family Style, the Brooklyn-based chef guides her daughter, Hailee, on how to make Dominican pastelón, which is basically a classic layered sweet plantain lasagna.

Rosie explains that the pastelón is very similar to an Italian lasagna, but the plantains give it a sweet flavor.

“This recipe is actually passed down from my grandmother to my mother to myself, and today we’re going to pass it down to Hailee,” Rosie says. So she and her daughter head to the kitchen and get started on making Dominican pastelón.

How to make Dominican pastelón


  • 6 ripe plantains, peeled

  • 4 to 5 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ¼ cup red onions

  • ¼ cup green bell peppers

  • ¼ cup red bell peppers

  • ¼ cup capers and olives

  • 2 garlic cloves, grated

  • 1 tablespoon sazón with achiote

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 16 ounces tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese

  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

  • Salt, as needed

  • Black pepper, as needed


1. Bring a pot of water to a boil with 1 teaspoon of salt. Once boiling, add the peeled plantains, and continue to boil until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the plantains.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the onions, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, capers and olives, garlic, sazón with achiote and ground beef. Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Once ground beef is browned, add in tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add the plantains and butter to a separate bowl, and smash with a wooden mortar handle until smooth.

4. In a 9 x 13 in. baking dish, layer half of the plantain mixture, then layer all the ground beef mixture on top. Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Finish with the remaining plantain mixture, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese on top.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

5. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the top to serve.

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