PANZEROTTI PUGLIESI

Ingredients

Dough:
1 2/3 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg yolk
A little milk, as needed

Filling:
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, chopped
2 ounces prosciutto, cut in slivers
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs, beaten with a little water
Fat for deep frying, (half oil and half lard)

How to make the Panzerotti:

sift the flour with the salt onto a board in a mound, hollow out the center, and pour in the butter and egg yolk. Work the flour into the liquid with the fingers, adding a little milk from time to time, as needed, to make a smooth, well-blended, firm dough. Wrap it in a clean cloth and let it rest for half an hour. Then put the dough on a lightly floured board, roll it out, and fold it over on itself twice. Wrap it in the cloth again and let it rest while you prepare the filling. Put the chopped mozzarella, prosciutto, grated Parmesan cheese, and parsley in a bowl; season with the salt, freshly ground black pepper, and nutmeg. Add the eggs, and blend thoroughly. Divide the dough in half and roll out two sheets, each 1/8 inch thick. Brush one sheet with beaten egg and space small heaps of the filling on it 1 1/2 inches apart.

Brush the second sheet with beaten egg and lay it over the first sheet. Press the fingers on the dough all around the spots of filling. Then, with a pastry wheel, cut out squares, each containing a knob of filling. Press the edges of each square down again to make sure that none of the filling escapes during the cooking. As you finish the panzerotti, line them up on a lightly floured cloth, taking care that they do not touch each other. Heat the fat in a deep fryer or skillet to 375 degrees. Dip the panzerotti into the beaten egg and drop them at once into the hot fat. Remove them with a slotted spoon after about 6 minutes. They should be crisp and golden. Drain on an absorbent paper. Sprinkle them lightly with salt and serve at once.

Serving suggestion: Serve the panzerotti on a bed of tomato sauce and garnish with fresh chopped parsley flakes and Parmesan cheese chips.

Source: Flavors of Apulia Nancy Harmon Jenkins Broadway Books.

A classic Italian panzerotti recipe with a ham and mozzarella cheese filling. Panzerotti are quite like very big Ravioli, except that they are deep fried rather than boiled.

Pugliese cuisine is based on olive oil, one of the great products of the region. In any given year, Apulia produces as much as two-thirds of all the olive oil in Italy, and while much of it is shipped north, more of it stays right here to be used in Pugliese kitchens. Cooks in Apulia even deep-fry with extra virgin oil, something that is routine in many parts of the Mediterranean such as Sicily, Andalucia in southern Spain and Greece.

Serves 6

Regional recipe from Apulia