Neapolitan pasta fritters
- Energy Kcal 671
- Carbohydrates g 52.2
- of which sugars g 5
- Protein g 11.1
- Fats g 46.4
- of which saturated fat g 12.96
- Fiber g 2
- Cholesterol mg 35
- Sodium mg 178
- Difficulty: Average
- Prep time: 90 min
- Cook time: 30 min
- Makes: 15 pieces
- Cost: Average
- Note + resting time for the fritters and cooling time for the béchamel
Out and about and feeling some hunger pangs? If you’re in Naples, you could stop by the first pizzeria or deli you find to order one of the frittatine di pasta, or Neapolitan pasta fritters, shown in the display case! Not familiar with them? Well, they’re not just little versions of a spaghetti frittata; rather, they’re fried medallions of pasta mixed with béchamel sauce and stuffed with a delicious ham and pea filling. You can chomp away on Neapolitan pasta fritters while exploring the alleys of Naples or waiting your turn outside of a pizzeria as an appetizer before tucking into a delicious pizza margherita! These fritters are a Neapolitan street food delicacy that’s truly hard to resist. We invite you to visit the beautiful city named after the Greek siren Parthenope and try them for yourself, but in the meantime, since your mouth is bound to be watering, get ready to make some Neapolitan pasta fritters and treat yourself! You’ll discover just how good they are and what a creamy filling awaits you.
- Ingredients for 15 fritters
- Bucatini pasta 1.1 lbs (500 g)
- Cooked ham 0.3 lb (150 g) - (for chopping into cubes)
- Frozen peas 2.65 oz (75 g)
- Garlic 1 clove
- Extra virgin olive oil to taste
- Peanut seed oil 6.3 cups (1.5 l)
- Fine salt to taste
- For the béchamel sauce
- Flour 00 1 ¾ cup (200 g)
- Butter ½ cup (130 g)
- Whole milk 4 ¼ cups (1 l)
- Fine salt to taste
- Nutmeg to taste
How to prepare Neapolitan pasta fritters
To make the Neapolitan pasta fritters, start with the béchamel sauce. Heat the milk in a saucepan 1, and in the meantime, melt the butter in a pot. As soon as the butter has melted, add the flour all at once 2 and whisk until the mixture thickens up 3. Don’t worry if it condenses quickly.
Next, dilute with the hot milk, pouring it in a little at a time and making sure that no lumps form 4. Once the mixture is well diluted, add salt and nutmeg 5 and continue cooking until you get a nice thick cream. Transfer it to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave to cool at room temperature 6.
Move on to the filling Cut the ham into slices, strips, and finally ¼-inch (0.5-cm) cubes 7. Next, crush a clove of unpeeled garlic 8 and put it in a frying pan together with a drizzle of oil. Allow the flavor to develop for a few minutes over medium heat, then add the ham cubes and peas 9.
Sauté for a minute or two, season with salt, remove the garlic, and set aside 10. At this point, you can cook the pasta in salted boiling water 11; be sure to drain it when there are 2-3 minutes of cooking time left. Pour the pasta out onto a lightly greased work surface 12,
then add a drop of oil 13 and mix it in quickly so you don’t burn yourself 14. Cut the pasta roughly with a knife and leave to cool 15.
When all the ingredients are at room temperature, pour the béchamel sauce over the pasta 16. Mix together well with your hands 17and then take a handful. Make a little indentation in the middle of the pasta mixture 18
and fill with a handful of peas and ham 19. Close the pasta around the filling 20 and then press it down inside of a 3-inch (8-cm) food ring mold to form a medallion. Alternatively, you can also shape the medallions by hand 21.
Carefully lift the medallions using a small spatula and arrange them on a tray lined with parchment paper 22. Remove the ring mold 23 and repeat the process so you get around 15 medallions. Once they’re all ready, leave to cool in the fridge for at least an hour or until they’ve firmed up nicely 24.
Next, heat the oil for frying and prepare the batter. Pour the flour into a bowl and slowly add the water to it while whisking 25. Season with salt and continue whisking until you get a smooth batter without any lumps 26, and then dip the first medallion in 27.
Drain the excess batter and plunge into the boiling oil 28. You can add other medallions, too, but no more than 2 or 3 at a time. This way, the oil temperature will remain hot at 350°-375°F (180°-190°C). After 3-4 minutes, they should be nice and golden 29, so drain on paper towel and continue cooking the others. Now your Neapolitan pasta fritters are ready! Buon appetito 30!
The pasta fritters can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days and are best reheated before eating. You can also freeze them if you like, although it’s better to do this before they’ve been fried; this way, you can defrost them in the fridge and then proceed as per the recipe. The fritters can be frozen after cooking if necessary. Plan your time well by preparing the béchamel sauce or the medallions ready for the batter in advance. In this case, you can leave everything ready to go in the fridge for up to 12 hours.
Breadcrumbs aren’t used in the traditional version, but if you prefer, you can try dredging your Neapolitan pasta fritters in breadcrumbs after dipping them in the batter. They’ll turn more golden when you fry them. Want to try some tasty variations? What about the most traditional version, with ground meat seared in a pan with the peas, similar to Bolognese ragu but quick? Then there are more modern twists, such as eggplant Parmesan, cheese-only, and even canned tuna with peas!