Bread & Pizza Italian Regional Recipes Starters

Gnocco Fritto, Deep-Fried Dough from Emilia Romagna

Gnocco Fritto is a typical appetizer of Emilia Romagna. Basically it is a dough made with flour, sparkling water, salt and lard (Strutto in Italian) , then rolled out thinly, to cut with the pastry cutting wheel into small rhomboids or small squares, fried. Because they are empty inside, they are opened to stuff them with salami, prosciutto, mortadella or cheese. Lard is used both in rolling out the dough and in frying, although nowadays it is often replaced with oil in both cases, or lard only in the dough and fried in oil.
Traditionally, it was served as a simple bread substitute. Depending on the area of Emilia Romagna, gnocco fritto is also called crescentina (in Bologna), torta fritta (in Parma) or Pinzino (in Ferrara), just to name a few. In the rest of Italy, it is more commonly known as Gnocco Fritto.


Serves: 4 – 5 | Preparation time: 15 mins + 2 h to rise | Cooking time: 15 – 20 mins

  • Italian 00 white flour / Plain Flour / All Purpose Flour: 400 g
  • Lukewarm Water: 150 ml
  • Lard at room temperature, 50 g or EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 50 ml or unsalted butter, 50 g
  • Milk at room temperature, 120 ml
  • Fresh Brewer’s Yeast: 8 g or Instant dry yeast, 10 g
  • Caster sugar: 1 tsp
  • Salt: a tsp
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying, 1 lt

Method

Mixing water and milk.

In a bowl pour the flour with yeast, sugar, lard (or butter or oil) and mix them. A little at a time start adding lukewarm mix water/milk, add salt at the end and mix thoroughly.

Knead the dough on a floured table top for at least 10 minutes or until you get a smooth texture.

Place the dough to rest in a bowl covered with a damp kitchen cloth. Wait for a couple of hours or until the dough has risen to double its volume.

With the help of a rolling-pin, roll out the dough to a rectangular shape. Cut the dough into squares or rhomboids of at least 7 cm in lenght.

Heat up the peanut oil in a large frying-pan. Fry the dough squares until they swell up and turn golden, making sure to cook both sides. Use a skimmer to remove from the oil, place on a plate over some kitchen paper and leave to cool.

Serve hot paired with cured meat and cheese platter.

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