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Nonna's Tomato Pizzette

Makes 12 - 14 Pizzette

Like every Italian cook I know, I have my favorite recipe for pizza fritta, or fried dough rounds. They are so easy to make, fashioned from rough pieces of the Straight Dough. Each one is a little different from the next, which is part of their charm. Usually they are deep-fried, sugared, and eaten immediately. But in this version, the pizze fritte are toped with tomato sauce and either smooth and creamy Fontina or delicate fresh mozzarella cheese and quickly run under the broiler to melt the cheese. They are just as delicious as their sugared cousins.

Ingredients

1 recipe Straight Dough

About 6 cups vegetable oil for deep-frying

2 cups tomato sauce, homemade or store-bought

1 pound Italian Fontina or fresh mozzarella cheese, diced

Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Directions

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky.

Divide the dough into 12 to 14 pieces. Shape them with your hands into rough 3- to 4-inch rounds. Place the rounds on a clean cloth and set aside.

Preheat the broiler. In a deep-fryer or deep heavy pot, heat the vegetable oil to 375ºF. Fry the rounds, a few at a time, until they are golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon to brown paper to drain.

Place the rounds on the broiler pan and spread each one with about 3 tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Top with the cheese. Place the pan 5 inches from the heat and broil just until the cheese begins to melt. Garnish each round with a basil leaf. Serve immediately.

This recipe is from WHAT YOU KNEAD by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1997.

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