Ecco un guest blog post by Carlo:
It has been more than 9 years since I celebrated with my friends in Salento the night of San Martino (November 11th), that paints this area of Puglia with colors of antique traditions.
SEMPLICE is the way how the people from Salento live and celebrate this night: family and few close friends sitting around the table lighted by the bright light of a fireplace, good wine (usually “vino novello”) and good food that everyone brings and shares as everyone brings and shares happiness and smiles.
SEMPLICI are the ingredients of pittule, one of the yummy stars of the night! They warm up the atmosphere as the arrive hot, crispy and fragrant at the table.
The term pittula comes from the Latin pitta than means little pizza and, using the words of a folk proverb (“Le pittule ccè ssuntu, me sai tire? Nnu picca te farina ‘nmienzu all’ egliu.”), we can define them like “a small quantity of flour between olive oil”.
To make “pittule” I use the recipe of my old next-door neighbour, signora Marietta. Everyone in my house was waiting for her coming with a basket of golden little balls….and you will understand why I call pittule small golden balls! She just mixes flour, water, salt and yeast for making SEMPLICI pittule.
For 50 to 60 pittule, and trust me they are never enough, you will need:
• 1 teaspoon dry yeast
• 2 ½ cups of warm water
• 3 ½ cups Italian-style 00 flour
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• Extra virgin olive oil for deep-frying.
In a bowl dissolve the yeast in ½ cup of warm water. Wait at least 15 min and add a cup of warm water and the four. Stir using a wooden spoon and mix the dough. Cover the bowl and set it in a warm place to rise for 4 hours till the dough will double in size. Dissolve in the rest of the warm water the salt and add it to the dough mixing gently using your hands. Keep mixing till your dough will have a creamy texture and beating till it will be smooth and uniform. (If the dough is too liquid to handle, add another cup of flour). Have a small amount of the dough in one hand and squeezing it into a small ball above your thumb (only if the dough is not too liquid you can do that!). Take the small ball with the other hand, which you will have dipped in warm water, and nicely drop the small ball into the deep-frying pan with hot oil. Be sure the balls will be covered by the oil. As soon as they are golden on both side remove them and drain on paper towel. Serve them hot and crispy!
Now you know why I call them small golden balls….and now you know how SEMPLICE is to have your friends happy around your table for San Martino!