Ricotta Fritters (Castagnole diĀ Ricotta)

February  3, 2015
1 Ratings
  • Makes 16-18 fritters
Author Notes

A favorite of Emilia-Romagna, these ricotta fritters usually appear as part of the array of Carnival treats found at this time of year.

I took inspiration from Roman food writer Ada Boni's Italian Regional Cooking. Her castagnole recipe is extremely basic (I added sugar and citrus to the mixture), but I like that she calls only for a little flour, as many of today's recipes use half ricotta and half flour for a more solid fritter.

There are so many was to play with this recipe: Take out the orange and/or lemon, use an aniseed (or any other) liqueur instead of rum, add vanilla, or substitute confectioners' sugar instead of granulated sugar. I often see this recipe with baking powder too, which makes them puff up more and become spongier -- but they remain much more delicate without it.

You can also bake these if you prefer not to deep fry, though they do come out crunchier. —Emiko

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup (250 grams) ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) flour
  • 1 tablespoon rum or Marsala
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together, except for the oil, in a mixing bowl until well combined.
  2. Over low heat, heat a small saucepan with enough oil for the fritters to float. Test the heat by dropping a cube of bread or a small blob of ricotta mixture into it. You should immediately see little bubbles appear all around the bread. With the help of 2 spoons, drop tablespoon-sized blobs of the ricotta mixture into the hot oil, and fry until evenly golden-brown, about 90 seconds. You can fry several at a time, but don't overcrowd the pan or the temperature will drop too much.
  3. Drain on paper towels and, while still hot, roll the fritters in extra sugar to coat. Serve warm or cold.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jackie Stauffer
    Jackie Stauffer
  • Emiko
  • TSmith
  • Mike

5 Reviews

TSmith June 14, 2017
Does anyone have the baking instructions?
Emiko June 14, 2017
This article is really helpful!
Jackie S. February 3, 2016
Has anyone used a dipping sauce? I'm sure they're delicious on their own, but wondering if anyone has ventured: something fruity or chocolatey (or both!)
Mike February 11, 2015
Wow! This takes me back to Italy last year. Eating at Piperno in Rome, we indulged in ricotta fritters dotted with chocolate chips that they called "palle do nonno" (grandpa's balls, haha). What a treat! Can't wait to give these a try!
Mike February 11, 2015
Whoops, palle DI nonno