Gnocco fritto

Gnocco fritto



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Few things shout Emilia Romagna as much as a starter – or lunch, or snack – of gnocco fritto, tigelle, piadine and a spread of cured meats. Gnocco fritto, in particular, is a much-loved affair in the region. It basically consists of square pieces of leavened, lard-enriched dough fried in, well, more lard. As it fries, the dough puffs up, producing crisp yet pillowy delights that are perfect with a few slices of prosciutto or mortadella. Wash it all down with a glass of local dry Lambrusco for good measure.

  • 160ml of water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 350g of plain flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
  • 550g of lard, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch of fine sea salt
In a small pan, heat the water until just lukewarm. Whisk in the yeast and leave for 10 minutes until foamy
Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the water (and yeast), 50g of the lard and the salt into the well. Mix well until you have a soft dough. Carry on kneading the dough for about 5 minutes, or until very smooth and springy. Shape it into a ball, place into a bowl and cover with a towel. Leave to rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size
Next, dust a work surface with flour. Roll out the dough to about 3mm thick. Cut it into 5–6 cm squares with a pasta wheel or a sharp knife
In a deep pan, heat the remaining 500g of lard to to 180°C. Fry the gnocchi in batches for a few minutes until puffed and deep golden in colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels
Serve fresh out of the fryer while still warm, alongside sliced cured meats and creamy local cheese such as Crescenza
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