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Polpette al Sugo (Meatballs in Tomato Sauce)

  Polpette al sugo is a favourite from way back, a frugal way of feeding the family.  They were always prepared and cooked in sugo (tomato sauce) for Sunday family meals.  During winter, a few freshly homemade sausages would also be added to the sauce for that extra flavour.  The sauce would be served on home made ferretti or tagliatelle , as 'il primo piatto' (first course), and le polpette eaten for secondo with a green salad on the side.  We always made sure that a few would be left for the following days school lunches. Everyone has a favourite meatball recipe, whether handed down from their nonna or mamma ; or discovered in someone's cookbook that they continue to make and swear by.  Mamma likes to add cooked potato to the mix, rendering them moist.  Some like to add ricotta, while I have added grated carrot to these and have done so since my girls were little.  It was a sneaky way of hiding a vegetable they weren't very keen on. Most would agree that they m

Recipe Card: Chocolate & Orange Crostoli

Crostoli would have to be one of my favourite Italian fried sweets and we don't wait for Carnevale to enjoy them.  Whenever there is a festivity of sort - birthdays, anniversaries or Christmas, they are made in large batches.  December being the busiest month for us with birthdays, mamma and I decided to make a double batch together.  We made the standard bows and 'cartellate', rosette shapes that my maternal nonna would make to serve with honey or vin cotto, and have previously written about here.

A good part of the day was spent making them and talking about variations made. We scented them with lemon zest and some limoncello as I had run out of brandy. The beauty of these sweets is that you can flavour them which ever way you like and remembered that I had recipe tested a small batch using cocoa powder but forgot to share it here.  I was curious and modified the recipe slightly to add the cocoa powder and replaced the lemon zest with that of an orange.  I was pleasantly surprised at how they maintained the same crispness and were quite moreish.   If you are a chocolate lover like me, and want to jazz up your crostoli for the festive season, I recommend you try them!

Chocolate Flavoured Crostoli


250 g plain flour
5 tblsp cocao powder
25 g castor sugar
pinch of salt
1 organic orange (zest only)
2 tblsp of vegetable oil
2 eggs
50 ml of brandy
vegetable oil for frying
icing sugar for dusting

In a large bowl, sift flour, castor sugar, cocoa powder, zest of orange and salt.

Lightly beat the eggs, oil and brandy in a separate bowl and then add to the dry ingredients mixing well until combined. I mix all ingredients in a food processor until dough comes together. If the dough appears too tacky, add some more flour. (This will depend upon the side of your eggs)

Knead dough on a lightly dusted board until smooth.  Cover dough with bowl and allow to rest for half an hour. 

Cut dough into manageable pieces (quarters) and using a pasta machine on the widest setting roll through 10 times folding the dough in half each time. Then on the second last setting roll the sheet approximately 1 mm in thickness ready for cutting.

Using a pastry rotary cutter, cut strips 8 cm long x 4 cm wide and then a short slit in the center of strip and thread though itself.

Heat vegetable oil in a small pot to 170 degrees celsius.  Try not to over crowd the pot and only place 2 or 3 at a time, depending on the size of your pot. Fry until they puff up on one side, then using a fork turn over and fry until puffed.  Be careful not to burn them as it is difficult to tell with the chocolate colour.

Remove from oil and place on paper towel. Once all fried transfer to serving dish and dust with icing sugar.



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