Neapolitan pasta fritters
- 2 h
- Kcal 361
Sciatt is a typical specialty of Valtellina: crisp round fritters that conceal a flavorsome Casera heart, a typical local cheese. Just like another typical dish of Valetllina, pizzoccheri, sciatt are also made with buckwheat. Chef Roberto Valbuzzi, from Valtellina, brought the grains of this pseudowheat to the Giallozafferano kitchen to show us where the journey of this extraordinary ingredient begins, before it is turned into the flour used to make sciatt. In dialect, the name of these fritters means "toad": their bulgy and irregular shape means that they do bear a resemblance with this animal. The batter enveloping the cubes of Casera cheese is flavored with a small glass of grappa or spirit, watered down with a little sparkling water or beer. Discover how easy it is to make them... they are so delicious and flavorsome, they'll disappear in a flash!
To prepare sciatt, start by making the batter: be sure that all the liquid ingredients are thoroughly chilled, as recommended. Place the 00 and buckwheat flours in a bowl 1. Stir with a whisk to mix both flours together, add salt 2 and pepper 3.
Stir some more to obtain a homogeneous mixture 4; now add the beer 5 and almost all the water 6. Save a little water so that you can tweak the consistency of the batter and add some more if necessary later on.
Now add the grappa 7 and stir with the whisk to obtain a smooth and fluid batter (8-9). A glossy surface is the best way of telling whether the batter is good. Place it in the freezer to keep it nice and cold.
Now prepare the baby chicory: wash the leaves and dab with a sheet of absorbent kitchen paper and cut into very thin strips 10. Place the oil in a saucepan and heat to 340°F (170°C). In the meantime, prepare the Casera cheese: remove the crust 11 and cut it into 0.8-1 inch cubes 12.
Check the oil has reached the right temperature using a kitchen thermometer; remove the batter from the freezer and add the diced cheese 13; stir it into the batter using two spoons 14. Now use both spoons to remove a cube of cheese 15
and without draining too much batter, place it in the oil 16. Add another 4-5 cheese cubes 17 only, so that the temperature doesn't drop too much. Fry for around 50 seconds and turn them over occasionally so that they become golden all over 18.
Use a skimmer to drain the oil and place them on a tray lined with absorbent kitchen paper 19. Continue until all the sciatt are fried. Make a quick salad to serve with your sciatt. Prepare a vinaigrette by placing the vinegar and a pinch of salt in a bowl 20 and stirring with a whisk 21.
Add the oil 22 and stir with the whisk to obtain a stable emulsion 23. Finish with some pepper 24 and continue to stir.
Add the baby chicory and stir using two spoons 25. Add some baby chicory to each plate 26 and arrange the sciatt over it 27. Now serve, while still hot!
Enjoy sciatt freshly made. If you prefer, you can make the batter a few hours before and store it in the refrigerator.
The secret to making perfect sciatt, which do not break up during cooking, is the temperature of ingredients: the batter must be thoroughly chilled and the oil very hot.
For a gluten-free version, you could use the same amount of cornstarch instead of the flour 00; always check to ensure all the other ingredients are gluten free too.
Instead of Casera you could use latteria cheese, or cheeses like fontal or edam.
If you'd rather make sciatt without grappa, you can simply leave it out. If you want to leave the beer out, you can replace it with an equal amount of water, but the result will be different and the crust will be less crunchy.
If the cheese is very cold, leave it at room temperature for a few minutes so that it is easier to cut.
The amounts of liquid ingredients for the batter depend on how finely milled the flour is; we used a medium-milled flour.
If the beer and water are very cold, the batter won't need to rest, otherwise it is best to leave it in the refrigerator, to chill thoroughly.