Feeding my taralli addiction

Feeding my taralli addiction

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Taralli are little snack foods that originated in Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot. Now they are available just about everywhere. Strangely enough the best taralli that I have eaten I found in Torino of all places. So now that I’m back in Bologna I decided that I had to either find taralli as good as in Torino or make them myself. So now that I have more time on my hands I embarked on the taralli project. The first batch was so-so, not enough olive oil for my taste, so I kept looking through the huge number of taralli recipes that I found on the web. The second batch was better but the dough was too wet and hard to form into the circular or oval shapes so I persevered and now I have a recipe that I’m satisfied with. They are actually pretty simple to make.

So should you wish to try this at home here is the recipe:

  • Flour—————————550 grams——20 ounces
  • Extra virgin olive oil—-180 ml———–6 fluid ounces
  • White wine——————200 ml———–7.7 fluid ounce
  • Salt——————————10 grams——–1/3 ounce
  • Red pepper flakes——–50 grams———1.7 ounces

I don’t know why WordPress doesn’t preserve my formatting, hence the dashes. I’ll have to look into that.

Dry ingredients done

Changing from grams to american measures is a little crazy but if you use a kitchen scale they often have a grams setting. The red pepper flakes are optional. You can also use other flavorings if you wish, black pepper, onions, fennel seeds (ground up). The Italian recipes specify flour type 00 but a good unbleached flour (like King Arthur) is OK for this.

I mix the dough by hand in a big bowl. Put in the flour, then add the salt and the flavorings (if desired), in my case peperoncino (red pepper flakes). Using the bowl I use only one hand to mix everything leaving the other hand clean. Next add the wine and mix thoroughly, followed by the oil. Keep mixing for awhile and then knead the dough for a few minutes or until it seems uniform. Cover the bowl and let it sit for maybe a half hour. Then start forming the taralli – this is the most laborious part and takes a little practice but with that much dough there will be a lot of practice. Cut off a little bit of dough and roll it with your fingers of both hands until you get a something like a little rope (I can’t think of a better way to describe it) then make an oval or circle depending on how long the “rope” is and pinch the ends together and set it aside while you make all of the others.

In process

As I say it really takes a bit of practice but once you get the hang of it you can make them fairly quickly. Here’s an Italian recipe video that shows the process pretty clearly:

Have a largish pot of water on the stove and start heating it a bit before the taralli are all formed. When it is boiling put a few taralli at a time into the water and when they float to the surface take them out with skimmer of some sort, I use a Chinese one, and put them on a kitchen towel to dry a bit. At this point you can preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Boiling briefly
Drying for a while before going into the oven

Put parchment paper, the kind of stuff used for baking, in the bottom of one or more sheet pans and put all the taralli on top and stick them in the preheated over for at least 30 minutes or until they start to look a little bit brown (in my case I had to leave the in for 40). After they cool I find they are terrific with beer. I find that they are even better the next day as they become a little bit more crunchy.

The finished product – what’s left of them

BTW there are a lot of english language recipes for taralli but few seem to be the basic Pugliese taralli. In any case if interested this one seems pretty good. Although a stand mixer is definitely not required, my “hand” mixer works really well and is much easier to clean.


BTW this has not been my only culinary project here – I’ve also made brownies which are very popular here and certainly are with my friends.

Chewy brownies made from an Italian recipe.

Let me know what you think.

2 Responses to “Feeding my taralli addiction”

  1. Susan R Frey Says:

    Your tarelli look great. I have some good friends that would love your blog. They live in San Francisco and have duel citizenship (Italian &US). I’ll forward it to them.

  2. Joe Says:

    Thanks Susan. I think that you’ll like the next post.


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