In this edition of 'Cook the Book', we delve into one of our favorites, an homage to Rome and its culinary goodness, Tasting Rome : Fresh Flavors & Forgotten Recipes from An Ancient City by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill. This book is an utter delight, from the photography to the stories behind each recipe. Anyone that has had the pleasure ofl visiting Rome will tell you that the food is one of the most memorable parts, whether slirping up glossy noodles of cacio e pepe flavored with salty Pecorino to heavenly rice balls stuffed with tomatoes and mozzarella.
This cookbook features over 240 pages of recipes and stories and there are many that have been marked for a later date, but we decided to make castagnoles, decandent fried dough balls that has been fried until golden perfection then rolled in sugar. This dessert typically makes its entrance into Roman bakeries leading up to Lent. If you are looking for a delicious treat, we recommend this recipe; but to take it up another notch, why not melt some dark chocolate and dip them before enjoying.
'CASTAGNOLE' Fried Dough Balls with Sugar
3 cups flour
2 teasoons baking powder
Pinch of baking soda
One orange, juiced, like navel or cara cara
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
zest of one lemon
5 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup more for rolling
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup neutral oil for frying, like canola or sunflower oil
Directions: Place flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl, whisk together. Add orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest and eggs. Mix to combine. Add sugar, milk and olive oil, stirring until completely mixed. Pour 1/2 cup oil into a small pot. Heat until oil reaches 350 degrees on a thermometer. Using two spoons to drop dough into oil, or a small dough scoop, taking care not to overcrowd. Allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Line a plate with paper towels, and once cooked let cool for a few moments before rolling into sugar. Repeat until finished. Makes 15 to 30 depending on size of scoops. Best enjoyed the day that they were made.
*Recipe adapted from 'Tasting Rome'
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Photography & Styling by Alison Engstrom | Book c/o Clarkson Potter