When I was a kid I thought everyone had a grandmother who made pasta every Sunday and had noodles drying on the bed in the spare room. I just assumed all my friends ate homemade ravioli. What did I know?
I loved absolutely anything and everything my grandmother made. I really can’t think of one thing that I turned down. Whenever I am asked about one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten I inevitably say “my grandmother’s jingles”. What are “jingles”? Well all I knew was that they were the most amazing melt in your mouth pasta, similar to a shell or gnocchi. A few years ago while doing research on Calitri-my grandparents’ home town- I discovered that they are regional specialty and are actually called “cingul'”.
After “jingles” I have to say that “pizza fritta” was a close second. Made with the same dough that was used for pizza made on a sheet pan, this was fried in hot oil, topped with a simple tomato sauce and a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese. She made them in her home kitchen, but also was called into action at the Italian church in town whenever they had a festival or what we called “a bazaar”.
I remember standing outside the booth, watching the little Italian grandmothers strring the pots of sauce, frying the pizzas and handing them over to those of us waiting our turn. I was so proud that my grandma was up there, cooking in the most popular booth at the bazaar! I can’t exactly remember the price, but they probably cost a quarter each or less.
I don’t know why it took me so long to just make these myself. They really are quite simple. The key is that the oil has to be hot-about 350 degrees.
La Pizza Fritta
1 recipe pizza dough
basic tomato basil sauce
Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll them out to about 1/4″ thick and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Heat a frying pan over high heat, adding about 3/4″ vegetable oil (I used olive oil) and fry each pizza for about 30 seconds or so on each side. Remove with tongs. Top with sauce and cheese and serve!