I recently popped along to ASK Italian in London’s Paddington to meet celebrity chef and ‘ASK Italian Expert Friend’ Theo Randall. I was actually there to hear more about the brilliant restaurant chain’s Grand Tour – a series of fundraising activities across the UK from 9-27th of September in aid of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital – but I also had a chance to learn how to make panzerottini (a delicious dough ball filled with chilli flakes, cheese and/or pancetta that Theo has recently added to the menu).
I loved these piping hot balls of gooey goodness so much that I thought I’d try them out at home. To start, I adapted the easy-peasy pizza dough recipe from the ASK Italian cookbook. I’m fairly new to working with yeast, but have quickly realised that it’s not to be feared. All you really need to make bread and its many relations is time and elbow grease (or a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with a dough hook if you’re a cheater like me).
Theo makes his panzerottini with fontal cheese, but I used pecorino because that’s what I had in the fridge. Although pecorino is a harder cheese than the fontal it worked out OK. If I’d used the mozzarella I also had in the fridge, I reckon it would’ve melted all over my pizza stone while they were in the oven.
Following are my efforts. Below is a simple, if not time consuming recipe. Give them a go and let me know how you get on. Or, if you live in the UK, head to your nearest ASK Italian restaurant.
Theo Randall’s Panzerottini For ASK Italian
7grams dry yeast
120 mls of lukewarm water
½ teaspoon of brown sugar
½ tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for wash
½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
220 grams of strong white flour
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil to serve
Makes approximately 30 pieces.
- Mix together the yeast, water, oil and sugar in a small warm jug. Use a fork to get rid of any lumps. Leave the mixture to rest.
- In a separate bowl, sieve the salt and most of the flour.
- Make a well in the flour and stir in the yeast/water mix with a wooden spoon.
- Dust your worktop with the remaining flour and knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes).
- Cut the dough into 80g pieces and knead into balls.
- Place the balls on a floured tray and cover with a wet tea towel for 1½ hours (or until the dough balls have doubled in size).
- Heat your oven to 240°C/475°F.
- On a floured tray, squash the balls with the palm of your hand and spread the dough thin with your fingers.
- With a pizza slicer, cut the dough into six even strips.
- Sprinkle with pepper, sea salt dried chili flakes and push in small cubes of the pecorino cheese into each strip.
- Roll the dough from the narrowest edge, pinch the sides closed with your fingertips to seal the ingredients inside and roll in the palm of your hand to make a ball.
- Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
- Brush with the leftover olive oil and place on an oiled tray or directly onto pizza stone and cook in hot oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve hot with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Click here to find out more about the ASK Italian Grand Tour.
You can get involved in one of the activities, including cycling, walking, triathlon, and food nights. Or you can simply sponsor those who are participating.
© Kate McAuley 2013