Fretelli-Italian Fried Dough
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cube butter
t tsp salt
1 tabl sugar
1 cup regular milk
Melt butter and place in a (warm) bowl
Add flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, milk
Knead contents in bowl until dough is thoroughly mixed and forms a ball
Add more milk if necessary….
Rest dough in bowl covered with a towel for 15 – 20 min.
Work with small chunks of dough (a soft-ball size in your hand) to handle more easily
Roll out dough chunks with rolling pin to about 1/4 ” thick
Cut in diagonal sizes about 2-3 ” long
Heat Crisco vegetable oil in deep saute pan about 1″ of oil to cover bottom of pan
Fry , turning frequently to avoid burning (about 2 min.) to a light golden brown
Place on paper towels to drain excess oils.
Makes about 4 dozen.
Serve with cold cuts and don’t forget the Vino! or beer if you are a gringo!
My Grandpa John (whom I will refer to as Papa because it is a part of our heritage, a main theme in this piece) talked very fondly about this dish. It is a Italian fried dough that is served with cold cuts either before or after the meal. You know in our family we only make it during Christmas because we like to have it when our entire family is around. I learned this recipe from my mother who was born and raised in northern Italy. It is a very common dish over there but unfortunately we only make it once a year. But thats why it is so special in my mind. We get to enjoy it together as a family. Italy is a beautiful country with beautiful people who truly appreciate the family and sharing their delicious food. This is why we always make the traditional foods like fretelli because it reminds of us our heritage and the fact that we do it with our family makes it even better. It is so important to remember your past and who you are, we are so happy that our children and now grandchildren embrace their heritage.
I certainly share my Papas sentiments on how special this dish is because of its ties to our heritage. He has always been very encouraging about embracing our heritage and for the most part this has been done through different food. I chose to discuss this one because of the fact that my family always has it sometime around the Christmas holiday when my whole family gathers at my grandparents house. My Papa is the original bearer of the recipe and usually cooks them but is also helped by his wife my Grandma Joann (Ama). My mom and her sister also know how to make the dish and all of them help when the holidays are around. As mentioned above this dish is very common in Italy and can be served any time. This past summer my entire family traveled to Italy and we went to the villa of my great great aunt who made this for us, because we typically associate the dish with Christmas time, eating them in June was a little odd but delicious none the less.
This food speaks to me in several ways. First and foremost I feel connected to my family when eating it because many members of my family work in making them and I share in their deliciousness with all of them. I feel very proud to be of Italian heritage and that has been instilled in my mind very strongly by both my grandparents and my parents. In terms of folklore it would be important to note that this dish is quite popular in Northern Italy, how it becomes Italian cooking would lend itself to the fact that Italy was once composed of city states and the idea of a unified Italy would involve not having regional diets but rather categorizing it all as Italian food.