I have so many great memories of my childhood that all seem to revolve around food. This is one that is very special to me as it was truly a family experience. Saturday nights were usually pizza nights at my house. Of course, we were always happy about that. However, pizza night usually meant something more than just pizza! My mother and father often had leftover dough. This meant – oh boy—MOZZARELLA IN CARROZZA!! This was the stuff of “foodie dreams”.
I loved to be around for this – yes for the pizza – but especially for this wonderful creation that came from the leftover dough. MOZZARELLA IN CAROZZA is likened to a cheese sandwich. In fact, most often it is fashioned from a couple of slices of bread with mozzarella in the middle – dipped and fried in oil. It’s the Italian answer to the French Croque Monsieur. My mother and father, Attilio and Loretta, made theirs a little differently. In a family where nothing was wasted, they would roll the leftover dough into little balls and sometimes other shapes, and then stuff a chunk of mozzarella inside, closing the dough around the cheese. When dropped into hot oil, these balls puffed up and quickly became golden (sometimes taking just a minute). At this point, they removed them from the oil and rolled them immediately in SUGAR! Ohhhhh myyyy!
We ate them hot. Upon biting into these little balls of heaven, the melted cheese in the center became long and stringy, making it possible to stretch the delicious goo sometimes a foot or more. Great fun for a kid! (or a kid at heart!) Biting into one of these little heart attacks was an amazing and wonderful experience. I guess you could call them stuffed doughnuts – soft and savory inside – crisp and sweet on the outside. Soooo delicious! Take a look at this:
Where did they come from? Actually, carrozza means carriage. So, literally translated: mozzarella in a carriage! As Italians like to say, “It sounds better in Italian”. These delightful nuggets are quintessential Napoletana creations. Famous for being the birthplace of good pizza, it is no wonder that Napoli should be credited for another wonderful use for the dough. Also, on occasion, you might hear of them stuffed with other items than the cheese – like anchovies or even prosciutto.
In this post, I will present them two ways:
The first: rolled in sugar as the ones of my childhood
The second: served with Marinara Sauce – a great idea for appetizers or a first course
Obviously, these babies throw caution to the wind in terms of health – But then – not everything in life needs to be healthy and perfect for us every time. Sometimes – you just need to enjoy a little!
MOZZARELLA IN CARROZZA
For pizza dough – ingredients can be found in the dough recipe. Follow the link below:
I suggest using my recipe for pizza dough for this. You can make the dough ahead – and even freeze it for later use which is what I like to do. It provides for 2 larger loaves or 4 smaller ones. For the recipe, go : HERE
1 8 0z. ball Fresh Mozzarella Cheese for 1 large loaf of dough. Use more if desired.
Granulated sugar for rolling balls
Marinara Sauce – ingredients found in link to recipe: HERE
Grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
For Sugared Balls:
Follow instructions above for dough
Roll dough into small balls.
Pop a small piece of mozzarella into the center of each ball and seal with fingers and roll into smooth ball shape. Repeat for as many as you want to make. Don’t make too big – they puff up and enlarge as they cook.
Heat oil in pan until very hot. Being careful not to splatter, carefully place a few balls at a time into the oil and move about with a slotted spoon or instrument. Move them about, turning over quickly. They turn golden in just a minute.
Remove them to paper towels.
Sprinkle with or roll in sugar.
Enjoy while still warm.
For Savory Balls:
Follow instructions above for dough.
Roll dough into small balls. See photo above.
Place small piece of mozzarella into center of each ball. See above photo.
Follow same instructions for frying above.
Serve in a pool of Marinara Sauce (recipe link above) or with Marinara Sauce on the side.
Top with Parmigiana –Reggiano if desired – or serve on the side.
For a different twist – stuff them with anchovies, prosciutto, salami, or roasted red peppers!
MOZZARELLA IN CARROZZA is a simple rustic appetizer or start to any meal. They make a lovely first course – Consider about 2 per person for this. They are especially good with beer or vino rosso.
PARLA COME MANGI!
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