Panzerotti are a snack from Puglia in the South of Italy which resemble small Calzone. They are usually filled with mozzarella and tomato sauce. Though you can find variations such as spinach, ham, or turnip greens.
The main difference between a Calzone and a Panzerotto, besides its size, is that Panzerroti are deep fried instead of baked. This means that if you’re counting calories you should probably look for something else to cook. If your diet can take it, this is something that’ll make your friends, family, and yourself really happy.
Panzerotti aren’t only meant to be served around a table though. They’re there to munch on while you stroll around. My first taste of a Panzerotto was in Bari. It was cooked by a nonna who set up shop in front of her home with a pot of hot-oil. Locals would swing by, hand her 2 Euro, and walk away holding a Panzerotto wrapped in a piece of paper. They would then walk around the old town, chatting until they found a place to sit down and drink an Aperol Spritz.
So go on, grab the recipe below and make yourself some Panzerotti.
Then call up your friends, and head out the door for a walk with your deep fried pocket of cheese by your side.
Oh, and one little tip about the recipe below…
If you have any dough left over, roll it into a 1.5″ ball and deep fry it.
This way you’ll have made delicious fried pizza balls known in Bari as “Popizze”. Bag them, and head out into the world.
Ingredients for 10 Panzerotti
500g / 1.1lb flour
1tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp sea salt + more to season
1 tsp sugar
1 litre of Canola oil for deep frying. Add more if your pot is very large.
150g / 5.3oz of low moisture Mozzarella
10tbsp tomato sauce
- Form a well shape with the flour, such as what’s shown below, leaving a hollow in the centre.
- Dissolve the 1/2 tbsp of salt in 1 and a 1/2 cups of warm (but not hot) water.
- Slowly pour the salted water, olive oil, yeast, sugar, and milk into the centre of the well, making sure not to break its walls.
- Begin to stir the centre with your hands, slowly incorporating more flour as you go along, until all of it is mixed in. If the dough is getting too wet, add some flour. If the dough is getting too dry, add some water. Feel the texture and adjust accordingly.
- Knead for 10-15 minutes until its surface begins to turn smooth. Then let it rest for 2 hours.
- Gently roll the dough into a thick cylinder, and cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll them into a ball.
- Using a rolling pin, flatten each ball until it is 12cm/5 inches in diameter.
- Place tomato sauce and mozzarella in the center, then close it into a half moon shape. Seal the edges by pressing firmly with a fork, or by wrapping the rim as done in Empanadas. Be careful not to leave any gaps, as it will expand and open while it’s fying.
- Heat the oil to 190C/380F and fry the Panzerotti, 3 at a time for 2-3 minutes on each side. Make sure that they get golden brown on both sides.
- Sprinkle some salt on top, and serve warm.