Frittelle di Ricotta
Region: Italy, Emilia-Romagna
Category: Antipasto, Meze, Tapas, and Hors d'Oeuvres
Difficulty: Easy but special equipment needed and long cooking and/or non-working time
Fritelle or frictelle are small fritters, fried foods, of great variety that were very popular in the Middle Ages and often sold from street vendors. The anonymous fourteenth-century Venetian cookery book Libro per cuoco has an important-sounding recipe called fritelle da imperadore magnifici (the magnificent emperor's fritter) that is quite similar to this contemporary preparation. In the fourteenth century, they made it with fresh cheese, beaten egg whites, flour, and pine nuts and sprinkled it with sugar when finished. Today, these simple fritters are considered a passatempo, a kind of small cocktail snack had with a drink before any formal dining begins.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 4 passatempo servings
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
1. In a medium-size bowl, blend the ricotta, flour, salt, egg, and Marsala wine with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
2. Preheat the frying oil in a deep-fryer or an 8-inch saucepan fitted with a basket insert to 375 degrees F. Deep-fry several soupspoonfuls of the ricotta dough at a time without crowding the fryer until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes, turning if necessary. Let drain on paper towels. Let the frying oil cool completely, strain through a porous paper filter and save the oil for a future use.