Frittelle con Mozzarella e Pomodoro

Frittelle con Mozzarella e Pomodoro

These fried pockets of mozzarella and tomato, often called panzerotti, are a dish our family enjoys just twice a year — to celebrate the Feast of San Martino and to celebrate La Vigilia, Christmas Eve. These frittelle — fritters — can be filled with a number of different fillings, but mozzarella and tomato is always the favorite.

When my mom would prepare these frittelle, she would never make just one type. She would make at least five portions of the dough recipe below and prepare fillings of mozzarella and tomato, tuna, ricotta forte e cipolle, mortadella and tomato, and whole milk ricotta and parsley. I couldn’t tell you which one I like the best but the mozzarella and tomato ones were always the first to disappear and there were rarely leftovers of these for the next day. The process of making the dough, waiting for it to rise, filling and frying these delicious pockets of goodness is a labor of love (read: it is incredibly time consuming) but they are so worth the work.

When I decided to start this food blog, I knew that there were three recipes from my childhood that were the most important to record for myself and for my family. Those recipes are this one, Focaccia Barese, and calzone ripiene. These three dishes are ones that are specific to my family’s hometown, of Molfetta, Bari, and were central to my childhood. I remember Christmas Eve celebrations of my youth – we would attend a Christmas Pageant mass early in the afternoon, and return to my aunt’s house to fry these frittelle that we would eat late into the night. By mid morning on Christmas day we would already be warming up leftovers as our mothers cooked for the next meal.

I cherish memories like these because that’s exactly what they are — memories — they can’t be recreated, only relived. That’s why recording this recipe is so important to me. It’s a dish that each and everyone of my immediate and extended family members loves and remembers fondly. I want us to have the ability to relive those moments in time — of our moms and nonnas frying these for us on special occasions and watching us eat one after another — a meal everyone looked forward to. And if you didn’t grow up with these pockets of heaven? Try them — you’ll see why it’s been a tradition that has stood the test of time.

Frittelle con Mozzarella e Pomodoro

  • Servings: 15 Frittelle
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


    For the Dough:

  • 1 lb all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (hot tap water –112-120 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1.5 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1.5 L canola oil for frying

  • For the Filling:

  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 2-3 plum tomatoes, diced (if tomatoes are large, use only 2)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. Measure out 1 cup warm water. The temperature should be about 112 degrees Farenheit, but this temperature is easily achieved by letting hot water run from the kitchen faucet. In the water, dissolve active dry yeast and allow mixture to bubble, about 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, salt, and 1.5 tablespoons olive oil. Using the dough hook, mix on low to combine ingredients. With the mixer running, pour in water and yeast mixture. Turn the speed to medium and knead dough for 8-10 minutes, until elastic and smooth. If working by hand, mix the dry ingredients together and overturn onto a work surface. Create a well and add water with yeast and olive oil a little at a time. Incorporated the flour from the walls of the well slowly until the dough makes a rough ball. Knead for 10-15 minutes until supple and smooth.
  3. Oil a large mixing bowl, and place the dough into the bowl. Cover with saran wrap, and set in a warm place to rise for 2 hours, such as the stove, or inside the oven. In two hours, the dough should have just about doubled in size.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Heat a large frying pan and add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, salt and garlic powder and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened. Add the parsley and cook for another minute.

    Cooking Frittelle filling Frittelle filling in a bowl
  5. In a large bowl, add your diced mozzarella and cooked tomatoes. Stir to combine and set aside.

  6. Overturn the dough onto a floured surface. Shape the dough into a rectangular shape and cut into 12 equal portions. Reshape each piece to form a ball. Set aside to work with one piece at a time.

  7. Overturn the dough onto a floured surface. Shape the dough into a rectangular shape and cut into 12 equal portions. Reshape each piece to form a ball. Set aside to work with one piece at a time.
  8. Dust your work surface with flour to roll out each ball with a rolling pin to create an oval shape. With each roll, rotate the dough 1/4 turn and flip so that it doesn’t stick to the surface you are rolling on. When the dough is about 1/8 inch thick, fill the center with about 1 tablespoon of filling. Fold the dough in half to create a half moon shape, press firmly with your finger tips to close, and use a pizza cutter or pastry dough cutter to trim the edges. Press the edges together firmly one more time and set aside on a slightly floured baking sheet until ready to fry. Do not discard the edges! Set aside – the scraps will form the dough for the last three frittelle. Repeat with remaining dough. When you have finished forming the first 12 frittelle, knead the scraps together for 3-5 minutes and create three more balls of dough. Roll out and fill these as well.

  9. Heat about 1.5 L of canola oil in a medium, heavy bottomed pot. Line a baking sheet or platter with paper towels. Use a cooking thermometer to maintain a temperature of 370-390 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure the frittelle cook properly. Press the edges together once more before adding the frittelle to the oil, using a fine mesh sieve for safety. Turn the frittelle frequently and fry until you achieve a deep golden color, as pictured. Only fry 1-2 frittelle at a time to maintain the temperature of the oil. Remove and let drain on the paper towel lined plate or baking sheet. Let cool just slightly and enjoy warm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *