I now know where the expression pizza pie comes from.Well I think I do.While researching every nation´s pancake recipe recently I stumbled upon this little gem - Panzerotti.The word panzerotti comes from the Italian word for stomach—pancia—which reflects their belly-like shape. They are semi-circular pockets of bread, much like giant ravioli or mini Calzone, and are usually filled with a variety of fillings including cheese, meats and egg.They are then deep-fried in oil, and eaten piping hot.They are the Italian cousin of the empanada, which name comes from the Galician,Portuguese and Spanish verb empanar,meaning to wrap or coat in bread.These universal pizza pies have not changed much over time it seems, although these days some chefs experiment in dressing them up in a guise of fillings both sweet and savoury.In fast food joints nowadays you´ll find them filled with everything from tuna,vegetables and cured meats, to chocolate or fresh fruit.I´m not encouraging you out onto the streets as its much more fun to make home made dough and rustle up your very own custom made TV dinner.The taste test is that they should be slightly crispy,with a beautiful golden brown colour and filled with molten cheese; the steam rises into your face as you bite into it.Melty cheeses are the perfect choice, Mozzarella,Provolone or Taleggio.They are ideal for any time of the day and make a lovely finger food served alongside drinks or in my dreams given the current temperatures, added to your basket for a summer picnic.
The empanadas new filling
For the dough
450g plain flour
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Flor de sal
For the filling
225g Ricotta or Requeijao
2225g mozzarella cubed
225g mortadella chopped
100g Parmigiano Reggiano,grated
salt and pepper to taste
Pour the flour into a bowl.make a well in the centre and break in the eggs. mix in the oil and a little salt.Knead well to form a supple, smooth dough.Wrap in cling-film and refrigerate for a couple of hours.In the meantime,prepare the filling.Put the Ricotta or Requeijao in a bowl and stir in the eggs,followed by the other ingredients
Roll out the dough as as thinly as possible then using a pastry cutter,cut out circles about 12-15cm in diameter. Place a spoonful of the filling along one side of each circle, as if you were making omelettes.Dampen the edges slightly and fold over the dough into acrescent shape.Press the edges firmly together,then leave to rest for half an hour.
Deep-fry in very hot oil for about 4-5 minutes,turning once, remove and drain on kitchen paper.Serve piping hot.