Panzerotti: the original recipe from Puglia
Panzerotti are the perfect example of a delicious Apulian specialty based on simple ingredients. They should not be confused with Calzoni: both are made with pizza dough but, while the latter are baked, the first ones are fried.
Panzerotti, kind of half-moon-shaped pasta shells, are simply filled with mozzarella and tomato, at least in the most authentic and traditional version, although, like many other recipes of this type, they have given way to numerous interpretations over time: with ham and mozzarella, with spinach and ricotta cheese, with aubergines, onions, courgettes, and even tuna.
But what really makes the difference in this recipe is the dough and the way Panzerotti are fried.
Ingredients for about 30 Panzerotti
For the dough
– 500g 00-type flour
– Half a glass of milk
– Half a cube of yeast
– 190 ml of water
– 50ml olive oil
– Seed oil to fry
For the filling
– 100g mozzarella chopped
– tomato sauce
– Olive oil
How to make Panzerotti dough
Bring milk and water to a warm temperature and dissolve the yeast in the milk. Then mix the flour with the milk and add a pinch of salt in the water before adding it to the mixture. While mixing the dough, gradually add the oil. The goal is to prepare a firm dough that must then be left to rise for 3 hours, covered with a cloth.
After 3 hours, from the dough make about 30 balls and let them rise for another hour. Then work each ball of dough until it forms the shape of a small pizza, finally place the filling in the middle.
How to prepare the filling for Panzerotti
To make sure the filling liquid does not moisten the dough too much, let the mozzarella dry after cutting it into small pieces. The tomato sauce must be cooked with a little oil and basil in the pan for a few minutes, just to let evaporate it a little bit. A tablespoon of tomato sauce spread inside each Panzerotto is enough. Then place a few cubes of mozzarella and finally fold the dough over itself to form a half-moon shape. To seal Panzerotti, press the dough with your fingers to form a sort of edge, this will prevent the filling from pouring into the pan.
Very important: be careful not to overfill the Panzerotti because this could cause the dough to break during frying and the filling coming out.
How to fry Panzerotti
Frying Panzerotti is an essential step. If you don’t have a fryer, it is advisable to use a pan with high edges and a very thick bottom. Pour an abundant amount of seed oil and heat it. To check the temperature is high enough you can dip a toothpick in the oil. If bubbles are formed around it, then it is time to fry Panzerotti. Once it has reached the right temperature, lower the heat slightly. Don’t fry more than two or three Panzerotti at a time, otherwise the oil temperature will drop and Panzerotti will take longer to fry, becoming heavier and less digestible. During frying turn them a couple of times to obtain a uniform browning.