I was fed this delectable treat on our first day in Tuscany. We were at our family's inn celebrating Antonio's birthday. The food we were served that first day will always hold a place in my mind for being one of the best meals I have ever partaken in. To call it a meal almost seems to lessen what it was for it was surely an experience. The inn is located in northern Tuscany in the small village of Gragnola. As we were all seated around the tables, the wine and conversation flowing, placed in front of me was a basket of fried dough.
Little did I know what the next few bites would have in store for me.
As I stole a roll away from the basket, it was still piping hot. Upon first bite I was firmly taken to what could only be described as foddie nirvana. Such a simple idea, fried dough with the surprise of crunchy sea salt. My taste buds determined it anything but tasting simple. Then, as I watched, everyone around me began to rip their bite sized pufffs of goodness open and stuffed them with the never ending supply of pancetta and proscuitto. The meats were room temperature and it was almost as if the heat from the rolls melted the fat in the meat and it led to one the greatest taste explosions I've ever had the pleasure to experience.
You can make this a few different ways and I do not promise that mine is the most authentic, but I do promise it is delicious nonetheless.
I cheated on my dough and just purchased a premade pizza dough, the kind you get in the chilled section of the grocer aisle. I then used my kitchen shears to cut the dough into very small cubes, keeping in mind that once it fries, it bubbles up to twice its size! I got a pound of pancetta and cut each piece in two. I used simple canola oil.
2 cups oil
1 pizza dough
1 lb pancetta/prosciutto
Get the oil ready, I drop a piece of flour in to see if it bubbles and then I know it is ready. Have a plate lined with paper towels ready to go, along with a large slotted spoon. Drop 5-6 cubes of dough in the oil at a time. Once the dough begins to brown, quickly turn them. They can go from done to burn in a quick second, be sure to watch them closely!
Once they are done and still hot, I roll them in a plate full of sea salt. Open them and place the pancetta in immediately and serve. These are much better being devoured while they are still hot. Also, I recommend letting the pancetta get to room temperature before starting the oil.
Now be sure and check out the other fabulous dishes these great cooks have whipped up for you! You should also find some great tablescape and printable ideas.