Totoro Family Recipes: Tarella

tarella-4My husband is 100% Italian. As far as I know, I’m 100% Texan. He has a great ethnic heritage; I am more of a mutt.

In my family, we followed recipes – usually cut from local newspapers or found in tried-and-true cookbooks. In his family, recipes were passed down from generation to generation, rarely written down, requiring Β more of a hands-on apprenticeship.

So when we married, I began training.

 

tarella-6Geoff focuses on the pasta recipes (stuffed shells with Italian “gravy” are his specialty) while I have tried to learn the traditional holiday dishes. TarrellasΒ were often served at Easter.

While Geoff’s grandmother, the youngest in a family of eight, was born in the United States, several of her siblings came from the “old country.” I think the Italian spoken in the home was a mix of English, Italian, and some unknown dialect.

Cora’s recipe is called Tarella … although she pronounced it “Tah-dall” … and when I did a google search, most recipes are known as Taralli. Slightly confusing…

Before traveling to Italy last spring, I would have described this bread product as an Italian bagel. A very bland, lighter bagel. However, in Italy they are more like a snack cracker – similar to the way we eat pretzels. And they come in a variety of savory as well as sweet flavors.

This recipe, however, is the one that is near and dear to my husband’s heart. It is his comfort food – and while a little time consuming to make, I don’t mind this labor of love.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2.5 cups flour (plus a little more)

Directions:

  • Beat the eggs, salt, pepper and oil and then slowly add the flour
  • Turn mixture onto floured board and knead about 10-15 minutes, adding flour as needed. Dough should no longer be sticky but soft and elastic
  • Let rest about 15 minutes, and then knead a few more times
  • Cut small pieces of dough and form into individual rings (in Italy the rings are small – about 2 bites, but Cora made them as large as bagels)

tarella-1

  • Drop rings into boiling water for about 10 minutes (don’t crowd… about 4-5 at a time is ample)

tarella-2

  • Remove from boiling water and let cool

tarella-3

  • When they are cool, place on baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes
tarella-5

Fortunately my rolling abilities improved over time

This post is a part of BethFishReads’ Weekend Cooking link-up. For more delicious recipes, please visit this weekly blog feature.

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16 thoughts on “Totoro Family Recipes: Tarella

  1. That’s a new type of pastry to me, very interesting to learn about them. I looked around on the web and evidently several sources sell ready-made ones. I’m sure yours are nicer!

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  2. How fun and how lucky for your husband that you undertake that labor of love for his favorite comfort food. They look delicious. (I think I might be tempted to treat them like a bagel and dip them into a veggie or lox and cream cheese schmear!) πŸ˜‰

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  3. The process is similar to bagels too, with the boiling first. I’d like to give them a try if they’re lighter, as you say. Maybe sprinkle with poppy seeds?

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  4. I bet these would be great to have with wine before dinner. I’m also thinking one could change the flavors … add some herb, a little Parm cheese, chili powder. The wheels are turning….

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  5. I love the step by step, I have never tried making something like this before. Adding different flavors would change out thet Taste, I agree with BFF, some Parmesan would be good.

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