Panini Girl

My obsessions-Italy and Cooking

September 18, 2016


Growing Up With An Italian Grandma


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
grated parmesan

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!



12 thoughts on “Growing Up With An Italian Grandma

  1. Love your story and your
    Recipe!! Another layer of
    Who you are💜

  2. Not sure why you stayed so skinny! It is fun realizing our families route to Tarrytown. Fun.

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. My Mamma makes pizze fritte every week when they bake bread. My nipotini love them!

  4. I love your memories – my Grandmother used the broom stick – covered with dish towels and laid between two chairs to dry out the pasta. Pizza fret was a staple — also when the pies were made and there were scraps of dough – they were rolled out and covered with sugar and cinnamon and baked on a sheet — yummy – and helped you to be able to wait until the pie was finished !!!!

  5. Everything you wrote of brought back memories, starting with the pasta drying on the bed. I have not had Pizza Fritta for years but this post actually brought the smell and taste to me again. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • PB Levitt-I really treasure all those family meals we had that my grandmother made. I’ve tried to recreate the “cingul” but mine are never quite so tender. I hope at some point to spend time in Calitri cooking with some nonna!

  6. I love when you write about grandma and our wonderful Sunday meals together as a family.
    Visiting 106 to see you last month, those memories of the drying pasta crossed my mind.
    You described the jingles perfectly. I could feel them melt in my mouth now!
    Thanks for the memories.
    Baci, cugina C.

    • Christina-I wish we could go back in time knowing what we do know and have those meals and that time with grandma and grandpa again. I hope when I get to Calitri I can find someone who makes jingles like grandma.

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