This recipe is a staple in our region of Italy. The Puglia region. My family lives in Bari and Mola Di Bari which is a southern coastal city off the Adriatic. Panzarotti later introduced to Northern Italy in the 1940's by Agostino Luini.
*If you ever get a chance to go to Italy, the Puglia Region is beautiful and visit Trulli!
I love Bari!
Sometimes this was a whole family event, everyone stuffing their own pockets. We would have these many times a year but definitely on New Years Eve. But honestly we get cravings and we have to make these and can't wait until the holiday. We just recently made them for Fourth of July. They are so good, filled with your favorite pizza toppings, I have even made Manwich ones with shredded cheddar and sweet ones with pie fillings (and yes I've done Nutella and bananas)(if my mom knew I did that with the pie fillings she'd probably hit me with a dish towel). You can get really creative, but the original panzerotti feature, sauce and cheese and then whatever else you like, our family would do capers, pepperoni, ground meat sauce with cheese, cooked sausage, and my dad of course with his anchovies and ham. The stuffing possibilities are endless! You can make your own pizza dough or buy it and make as many as you want! Also making them small would make great appetizers. This is one of my favorite foods!
When we got to my mom's on Fourth of July she already had the assembly going and her homemade dough made. My daughter insisted that she wanted to help so I thought this was a great opportunity to have her hands get dirty and her head into the kitchen. Getting lessons of Italian cooking to the 3rd generation. This was Sofia happily rolling the dough on our square wood plank that is about 30 years old. We always roll out our dough on it and we always work on this board when working with any type of dough or pastry.
Depending how many Panzarotti you want to make depends on how much dough you make. My mom will make up to 5 pounds of dough, some for the Panzarotti, Focaccia or Bread. She always makes lots of Panzarotti because she cooks like she has The Army to feed. But 1-2 pounds is good for a big dinner because usually you only eat these for dinner with nothing else. They are filling. What is also great is that you can freeze them before you fry them (I would separate them between sheets of deli paper so they don't stick and then you would defrost them before frying or if you have leftovers, they last a good couple days if they last that long.
The person who was most importantly missing was my Dad. He would always be sitting at the table rolling, filling and of course critiquing our way of doing the panzarotti. My Dad though is now in Heaven but my mom and I couldn't help but talk about him while doing the Panzerotti. We had some great laughs and would say things that he would say to us while we assemble them. It was sad and nice at the same time. Keepin the memory of him alive. This recipe is extra special for our family because of him.
So here is the Panzarotti Recipe, I hope you love them and enjoy them as much as our family and friends do.
1 lb of Fresh Pizza Dough or Frozen and Thawed Pizza Dough
Pasta Sauce (your own or store bought)
Mozzarella cheese or any cheese you like.
Fillings: (which are endless)
Cooked Italian Sausage
Ground Beef, Cooked and Drained of Fat
Prepared Sloppy Joe and Shredded Cheddar
Veggies: Mushrooms, Olives, Peppers, Onions, Banana Peppers, etc...
Ham & Shredded Swiss Cheese
This is basically a pizza that has been folded over and fried, well kind of... It's way better!
Take a piece of dough the size of a tennis ball and flatten it with a rolling pin into a flat and round shape on lightly floured surface. The thickness of the dough should be no more than 1/4 of an inch.
Place your favorite fillings at the center of the dough, do not over stuff. We usually start with a tablespoon of sauce with mozzarella cheese, then add what we want additionally (meats and vegetables).
Fold the dough over the filling and close it in the shape of 1/2 moon. Press down the outer edges of the dough to completely seal the panzerotti. Make sure to seal well or the will open in frying process. Prepare all of them before starting frying process.
Fry in hot olive oil till they are golden brown (you'll have to flip sides while frying, I would use salad tongs to do this, drain on paper towels and serve when you have fried them all. Be careful not to burn your mouth, you will grown impatient and want to eat one right away!! Buon Appetito!