Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It's Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras is the last day of Carnival. It’s a day for feast, for dressing up and masquerading. I especially this time of the year. I love to see children getting all dressed up. Carnival is also a time for eating sweets. There are numerous traditions here and everywhere you go you’ll find several different sweet treats, especially fried ones.

Every year I use this time as an excuse to try new recipes. This year it’s Carnival Fried Ricotta Tortelli – actually that’s not their proper name, but the recipe was given to me by a neighbour of mine who has Sicilian origins, and their original name is in a Sicilian dialect which I do not understand, so I renamed them.

Carnival Fried Ricotta Tortelli

For the dough:
125 g flour (all purpose will do just fine)
50 g sugar
1 large egg
Cinnamon to taste

For the filling:
200 g ricotta
50-100 g sugar
Zest of a lemon

Oil (for frying)

Prepare the dough: mix together all the ingredients and knead as for pasta dough. Wrap in cling film and let rest for at least an hour.

Prepare the filling: mix the ricotta cheese with the sugar and the lemon zest. Mix well.

Roll out the dough either with a rolling pin or with a pasta machine, just as you would do with ordinary pasta dough. Divide into two pieces.

Put little quantities of filling on top of a dough sheet, cover up with the other sheet and gently press all around the dollops of filling, making sure the two pieces of dough stick together perfectly. Using cookie cutters, cut out “tortelli” all around the filling.

Heat up a pan filled with oil and deep fry the tortelli. Sprinkle with sugar and serve warm.