Taralli are Southern Italian pretzels or breadsticks that are sometimes served with cheese, olives, prosciutto, mortadella, salami and, last but not least, wine.
This taralli recipe includes traditional fennel seeds and red wine. Oh yes – pour that “vino” right into the mixing bowl. After the O-shaped taralli are boiled and baked, they’ll surprise you with a bold flavor and crunchy finish.
Vegetarians, pair these funky taralli with cukes, tomatoes, salads and – you got it – wine!
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 30 to 40 minutes
Makes: 15 to 20 taralli
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground, black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds (also called “anise seeds”)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
1/8 cup red wine
1/8 cup cold water
1/4 cup olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a 2-quart mixing bowl, combine the salt, pepper, fennel seeds, flour and baking powder; set aside.
2. Fill an 6-quart sauce pot 2/3 full with water and set it on a cold stove burner (to be turned on when taralli dough has been shaped into circles).
3. In a 5 to 6-quart mixing bowl or in a stand mixer, stir together the egg, wine, water and olive oil. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until a dough forms. Turn the dough onto a flat and lightly-floured surface. Gently knead the dough for 2 minutes.
4. Pull away a two-inch ball from the dough. Roll the dough on the flat surface and shape it into a 5-inch log (the log should be 1/2-inch thick).
5. Shape the log into a circle and press to close. Lay the circle, or tarallo, aside on flat surface or on a plate (not floured). Continue shaping remaining dough into taralli, laying them aside on the plate.
6. Bring the water in sauce pot to a boil. Gently drop two to 3 taralli into the boiling water and cook until they come up to the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes.
7. With a slotted spoon, transfer the boiled taralli to a platter for draining (do not lay taralli on paper towels or they will stick). Boil the remaining taralli and repeat draining instructions.
8. Transfer the boiled and drained taralli on a parchment-lined 18×12-inch baking sheet. Place baking sheet with taralli on a rack positioned in center of preheated oven.
9. Bake taralli for 15 to 20 minutes.
10. After 15 to 20 minutes, turn the taralli over and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until both sides are golden brown.
11. Remove the baking sheet with taralli from oven. Transfer taralli to a glass or porcelain platter or a cooling rack.
12. Enjoy taralli warm or at room temperature.
Storing instructions: Place cooled taralli in double plastic freezer bags. Freeze taralli up to one month.
To thaw: Remove taralli from freezer bags. Place them on a platter and allow taralli to come to room temperature. Place taralli on a baking sheet in a preheated 375°F oven and warm them for 5 minutes.
Wine Pairing Suggestion: Southern Italian reds such as Aglianico (from Naples) or Nero d’Avola (from Sicily).
Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real