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
Makes: 16-18 fritters
cup (250 grams) ricotta
tablespoons sugar, plus more for dusting
cup (50 grams) flour
tablespoon rum or Marsala
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Vegetable oil for frying
- Mix all of the ingredients together, except for the oil, in a mixing bowl until well combined.
- 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.
- Drain on paper towels and, while still hot, roll the fritters in extra sugar to coat. Serve warm or cold.
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