A simple mixture of flour, oil, water and wine enriched with a delicate scent of fennel seeds translates into "Taralli", a savoury snack typical to Southern Italy.
I usually buy them when I visit Italy and I enjoy them as an aperitif with a glass of wine. I have always been intrigued as to how to make them.
I grew up in Northern Italy so the original recipe "does not run through my genes" as they say. This is why I asked my friend Rosetta to help me in this. Rosetta comes originally from Calabria and when she was 6 she moved to the UK with all her family. It was after the war when Italy was very poor. They brought nothing with them just their genuine desire to do well and to work hard.
Later Rosetta married Antonio, an Italian from Benevento and they had three beautiful children together. Over the years they have done quite well: first they ran an Italian restaurant and then they successfully specialized in hairdressing. Their salon is now an award winning one and it is being managed by their son.
I love how Rosetta kept her Italian heritage over the years and her loving and caring ways so typical of an Italian mama. In fact she reminds me of home!
Let's have a look at the recipe. There might be a bit of work involved as you need to double cook them: first you boil them, then you bake them in the oven, but they are certainly worth a try and they can last well for a week stored in an airtight container.
Next time I will be sharing Rosetta's recipe for sweet taralli.
- Prep Time : 30 minutes
- Cook Time : 40 minutes
- Yield : 100
Put the flour, the water, the oil, salt, wine and the fennel seeds in a bowl
Mix with a spoon until all the ingredients are well incorporated, then working with your hands make a compact smooth dough
Divide the dough and roll it into small cylinders measuring approx 8 cm or 3 inch long and 1 cm or 0.4 inch thick.
Cross them together and press both ends to form a little bow
Thanks Rosetta! They look great!
Now let them rest for 15 minutes covered with a cloth.
Bring to the boil a saucepan of water then when it starts to bubble up throw in a few taralli at a time and boil them until they come up to the surface. Stir them from time to time to avoid them sticking to the bottom.
With a slotted spoon fish them from the water and let them rest for a couple of minutes on a dry cloth.
Place them on a greased baking sheet and bake them for about 30 minutes at 180C or 350F or until golden. Half way through the cooking turn them on the other side so that they will cook evenly.
Rosetta and I also cooked Calabrian stuffed bell peppers with anchovies, olives and breadcrumbs. You might like to check out the recipe.