Award-Winning Macaroni Fritters
Frittatine di Maccheroni
from Pasta Modern
Makes about one dozen 2-inch fritters
|Macaroni fritters are a typical Neapolitan street food, found in every rosticceria shop throughout town made with any shape pasta in any sort of sauce. |
This more refined version, made with cauliflower and béchamel, won Neapolitan blogger Lydia Capasso first place in a contest sponsored by there renowned Naples pasta company Garofalo.
Crispy outside, creamy cheesy inside, they are a great make-ahead dish as you can assemble all the ingredients a day or two before and just fry them when you're ready to serve.
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk, warmed
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and white pepper
1 pound cauliflower florets
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 ounces sharp provolone or scamorza cheese, chopped
1/2 pound bucatini or other long thick pasta, preferably Garofalo brand
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Make a béchamel: Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then off the heat, use a fork to stir in 2 tablespoons of the flour until smooth. Return to the heat and cook for a minute until golden, then slowly add the milk, stirring a few minutes until thick. Stir in the nutmeg and season with salt and white pepper.
Boil the cauliflower in a pot of salted water until very soft, about 10 minutes, and remove to a food processor with a slotted spoon. Puree the cauliflower with the béchamel, Parmesan and provolone cheese until it resembles cooked oatmeal. Place the mixture in a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, break the pasta in half and cook in boiling salted water for 3 minutes less than package directions. Drain and stir into the cauliflower mixture. Taste and add more cheese or other seasonings, if needed.
Lightly butter an 8-inch round high-sided pan and spread with the pasta mixture, packing it down firmly. The mixture should be about 2 1/2 inches high. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.
Combine remaining 2 tablespoons flour with 4 tablespoons of water in a bowl to form a smooth slurry. Spread the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Using a 2-inch cookie-cutter, cut out rounds from the cold pasta. Gather up any odd bits of pasta and form into another round; you'll get about 12 rounds.
Dip each round into the flour-water mixture, then into the breadcrumbs, coating all sides.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet over high heat. Add the rounds and fry until dark golden on both sides. Drain on paper towel lined plate. Serve at room temperature.
Thank you Lydia for this yummy photo and must-try recipe. Thanks too for introducing me to the wonderful folks at Garofalo, a renowned pasta company founded in 1789 near Naples, in Gragnano, a town with a legendary pasta-making history.<
©2013 Francine Segan.
All rights reserved.