How to make taralli
When traveling through Apulia, the "heel of the boot" of Italy, food is everywhere. We already talked in this post about how rich the entire region is in therms of culinary traditions and ingredients. Vegetables, wheat to make crusty bread and taralli, seafood, excellent cheese like creamy burrata, wine and olive oil in abundance.
While traveling through Apulia, if you stop to have an aperitivo, the waiter will be serving bowls of soft bocconcini of mozzarella, plump green olives, bits of salami, sun-dried tomatoes, and crunchy taralli, a snack food similar in texture to a breadstick or a pretzel. They'll quickly become your addiction.
If you miss Apulia, you can learn to make taralli at home, they are quite simple to make, with an unleavened dough of flour, salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and white wine. You can leave the dough plain or spice it with fennel seeds or cracked black pepper.
You can taste taralli during our Trani wine and oil tasting.
Traditional Taralli Recipe from Puglia
Preparation Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Yield: About 100 taralli
4 cups (1 lb, 500 grams) flour
1 tsp (10 grams) salt
2/3 cup (150 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (200 ml) dry white wine
1-2 tsp fennel seeds or cracked black pepper
In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt.
Add the oil and wine, and mix with a fork until the dough forms into a rough mass.
Dump the dough onto a wooden board and knead it for about 5 minutes, until it is smooth.
If you want to add any optional spices, knead them into the dough (or divide the dough and add spice to ½ of the dough) - knead well to distribute the spice.
Cover the dough and let it rest, along with your arms, for 15-30 minutes.
Pinch walnut-sized pieces of dough, roll first between your hands, and then against the wooden cutting board, so that the dough forms a thin rope, about ½ inch (1 cm) in diameter and 4" long (10 cm).
Shape each rope into a ring, and seal the edges together by pressing lightly, then set aside the taralli rings on a wooden board and cover with a towel.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil.
Put 6-10 of the taralli into the boiling water, and when they float to the surface - this will only take 30-60 seconds - remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a cloth to dry and cool.
Tip: Try not to plop one tarallo on top of another when dropping them into the pot, and if they stick to the bottom, give them a gentle nudge with the slotted spoon
Put the cooled taralli on baking sheets and bake in a preheated oven at 375°F (200°C) for about 25 minutes, until golden.
Remove and cool on racks.
Store in a closed container to keep them crisp, and serve with an aperitivo – they are the a nice accompaniment for the rest of that dry white wine – or pile them into a breadbasket at dinner.