There are a few things I like to the eat the most when I go back to Italy: gnocco fritto is definitely one of them. I crave it so much when I am here in the States that it becomes a special treat when I am back home. Fluffy, crunchy and so flavourful, gnocco fritto is ideal with every little snack or even instead of bread at dinner time. It’s literally fried bread! I use it a lot like a sandwich: a combination of stracchino and mortadella is for sure my favorite filling, but don’t give any limits to your fantasy because you can dress a gnocco fritto in anyway you prefer. I am sure that with this easy recipe gnocco fritto will soon become one of your favourites as well! Buon appetito !
Crumble the fresh yeast into a bowl, add the sugar, then pour over 50ml warm water and let the yeast melt, stirring with a spoon. Add 2 tablespoons of flour to form a very soft batter and leave it to rest for half an hour.
After 30 minutes, place the remaining flour into a large bowl and add the batter and the butter or lard. Dissolve the salt in the remaining warm water, then pour all the water into the bowl and begin to knead the dough.
When the liquid has been fully incorporated into the flour, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth and homogeneous. Bring the dough into a ball shape and cut a cross into the top of the ball.
Place the dough in a large bowl that has been sprinkled with a handful of flour and cover the bowl with cling film. Leave to rise for about 4 hours in a warm and dry environment, until the dough has approximately tripled in volume. When the dough is ready, knead it on a floured surface and roll it out to a sheet about 3mm thin and cut it into 8–10cm diamonds or squares.
Half fill a pan with vegetable oil and heat it to 180°C/350°F. Dip a few gnocco at a time into the oil and fry for 4–5 minutes until golden brown. Turn over halfway through. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place on a piece of kitchen paper to remove the excess oil.
While still warm, cut each one in half and put 1 or 2 thin slices of stracchino in the middle with a couple of pieces of mortadella and eat it like a panino ! It is imperative to serve this with a glass of red wine – buon appetito , beautiful people!