Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.
Frittelle usually means small pieces of batter-fried foods. Here it means crunchy fried wedges of thin taglierini (similar to angel hair) that are held together in a cream-and-vegetable sauce. The nice thing about this recipe is that the taste and texture can easily change with what's in the refrigerator. Small pieces of cooked vegetables such as artichoke hearts or asparagus are delicious additions, as are a handful of fresh herbs.
For a nice change of pace, serve frittelle as a Sunday night supper and you will be surprised at how good it can taste as a leftover. To save time, assemble the entire dish up to the point of coating the frittelle in egg and bread crumbs and refrigerate it.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1 cup hot milk
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon celery salt
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 cup diced cooked vegetables such as green beans, asparagus, or artichoke hearts, or a combination of vegetables
½ pound fresh or store-bought taglierini or angel hair pasta
1½ to 2 cups Toasted Bread Crumbs
½ cup vegetable oil for frying
Melt the butter in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the hot milk, then cook the mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens and coats the spoon, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the salts and zest, remove from the heat, and quickly whisk in two of the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the cheese. Pour the sauce into a large bowl, stir in the vegetables and press a sheet of buttered wax paper onto the surface of the sauce to keep a skin from forming and set aside.
Cook the taglierini according to the directions. Drain well and add to the sauce, mixing thoroughly to coat the pasta well. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet or marble board. Shape the mixture into an even-looking round, about 10 inches in diameter and 1 inch high. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. This will make it easier to cut into wedges before frying.
Beat the remaining 2 eggs in a shallow, wide bowl. Mound the bread crumbs on a sheet of wax paper and season them with a little salt.
With a sharp knife, cut the round into quarters; cut each quarter into two wedges. Dip each wedge into the egg, evenly coating it, then coat it in bread crumbs and set aside on a cookie sheet.
Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the wedges on both sides until the coating is crisp and browned. Add additional oil if the pan seems too dry. Remove the wedges with a slotted spatula and let them drain on brown paper. Serve warm.
NOTE: These are also good topped with a little tomato sauce.