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The Art of Making Perfect Empanadas

Insider Eats, a Pittsburgh-based startup company founded in the fall of 2022, aims to be Pittsburgh’s go-to hub for international food and supports small businesses. They now have 11 different cuisines on their menu, highlighting the most authentic dishes from each country. Last week, Ashley, the Community Developer for IE, and Yvette, the chef and co-owner of Flavor of Puerto Rico, had the chance to showcase Puerto Rican food and make empanadas on KDKA’s newest show, Talk Pittsburgh.

Yvette Rodriguez-Schmidt and her husband, Vic, own Flavor of Puerto Rico on Brownsville Road in Mt. Oliver. They use Yvette’s family recipes and Vic’s culinary experience as a chef to create something wonderful for Mt. Oliver residents. Yvette and Vic moved to Pittsburgh from the Bronx 14 years ago, and they aim to provide affordable, delicious food to their community. She said, “It feels like home when we eat the food.”

Puerto Rican food is usually not spicy, but it is absolutely full of flavor. Yvette tells the story about a special blend of vegetables and herbs called sofrito that is used for a base and a marinade in many of their dishes. Every Puerto Rican family has their own version, and while we can’t give away the EXACT secret family recipe, Yvette and Vic use onions, peppers, garlic, cilantro, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and green olives.

To make the empanadas, place an empanada shell (homemade or store-bought) on your work surface and brush the edges with water. Cook ground beef in a skillet and add sofrito, spices, and cheese; place a scoop of the mixture in the middle of the empanada shell. Fold the empanada in half and crimp with a fork to seal. Yvette and Vic deep fry theirs to perfection!

To order delicious, authentic Puerto Rican food, or food from 11 different countries for takeout or delivery, go to Be sure to join the mailing list and connect with them on socials to stay updated on their newest menu releases!



Ashley Cesaratto

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Ashley Cesaratto is the Community Developer for Insider Eats, co-founder of the Facebook group Pittsburgh Foodies, freelance food writer, soprano in the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, and full-time music teacher. When she’s not eating or singing, Ashley enjoys exploring the city, hiking, yoga, working out, traveling, hanging out with her two cats, and spending time with family and friends. Follow her on Instagram at @eatingwithashley.pgh.

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