Apulian Panzerotti from Bari (and from other cities) are a variant of a domestic street food whose origins are lost in the mists of time. The name is probably derived from a Neapolitan “Panzarotto”, although in Naples panzarotto is a kind of giant potato croquette.
The base of panzerotto is identical to that of the pizza, in fact in a pizzeria if you ask for one, you will see that the pizzaman takes the amount of dough from the same drawer in which holds the dough ready for the pizzas. Panzerotto is pieces of dough, stuffed with different filling or not, and then simply fried in very hot oil.
For good “panzerotto party”, where you can share with your friends or family your delicious panzerotti, you will need to have at least a kilo of white flour suitable for pizzas or plain flour, water at room temperature, brewer’s yeast (just a stick) or risin fast yeast, a pinch of sugar that help the leavening, a bit of salt for a better taste. Aside you will have to prepare the filling make with peeled tomatoes, drained well and further shredded, mozzarella cheese (better if you use greated cedar cheese), grated pecorino romano cheese, salt and a pinch of pepper. In Bari, we use to put inside also a “ricotta squanta”, a kind of cottage cheese with a very strong flavor, a little bit spicy but that give to panzerotto a very particular taste. In alternative, the classic panzerotto recipe is with mozzarella and tomato only. You can make you own filling, just add or delete what you like.
For make the dough, dissolve the yeast in water and add sugar. On a pour the flour and make a hole in the middle where you pour the dissolved yeast and salt. Start to knead from the inside edges and slowly combine the flour until it forms a nice soft ball, firm and without lumps. Leave the dough to rest now in a floured bowl, for at least a couple of hours in a hot environment or under a blanket, covered with a damp cloth.
The easy way to use the filling is mix well all the ingredient in a bowl, place a small amount at the center of a ball of dough, spread with a rolling pin in the shape of a circle of a few millimeters thick, and closed as a half moon, making sure to close the edges, otherwise during cooking in oil the filling starch could escape and the water of mozzarella cheese could bring the oil to splash everywhere.
Cooking panzerotti in a hot oil (when you see the bubbles rise to the surface, oil is ready) 3 or 4 at the time. The best oil is olive oil, but in many shop you will find them cooked in peanut or vegetable oil.
Turn the panzerotti on both sides until begin golden brown. When cooked, let stand them on kitchen towels to absorb excess oil, and taste them hot, but you’re careful because the filling is very very hot. Enjoy your meal.
We present a video where you can get useful information about the implementation of the panzerotti.
Apulian Cooking and Recipes