I loved the fennel seeds in the taralli I tried and I thought adding these with another classic, peperoncini, would make a great combination for my first batch of taralli. I also wanted to try a less common flavour, rosemary for the second batch.
Makes about 24 breadstick-shaped taralli's.
Adapted from Babbo Ristorante and David Rocco.
I immediately wanted to try the recipe from Canadian-Italian TV host David Rocco. But I then found a recipe from Babbo Ristorante's website, my Italian Iron Chef hero's restaurant. This recipe has more wine, white wine in this case, but I did not go to the trouble of getting 00 flour, so I adapted from both recipes since David Rocco's recipe used all-purpose flour.
▪ 250 g (½ lb) all-purpose flour
▪ 2 tsp salt
▪ ½ tsp sugar
▪ 1-½ Tbsp fennel seeds / 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes OR 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary (roughly chopped)
▪ ¼ to ½ cup (250 ml) white wine, or as much as you need
▪ ½ cup (250 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Place the flour, salt, sugar, and flavourings of your choice in the bowl of an electric mixer.
Add the wine and oil and mix on medium speed to form a wet dough.
Add more wine and/or water as required.
Transfer the dough to a plastic container, well dusted with flour.
Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Dry ingredients for the different flavoured taralli.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead lightly.
Divide the dough into two pieces.
Roll portions of the dough into long ropes, about ¾ inch in diameter.
Cut the rope into about 4" pieces. (Taralli are traditionally shaped into rings, but I chose to shape them like breadsticks. It's also less effort this way!)
Boil approximately 4-5 litress of water in a large, shallow pot.
Season the water with salt.
Drop the dough sections, about 6 at a time; the water should remain at a simmer.
The taralli will float to the top when they are done.
Gently scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon or a Chinese skimmer, allowing them to drain for a moment in the spoon, before placing them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
The dough is still pliable so straighten them to make nice breadsticks-like taralli.
While you are boiling the taralli, preheat the oven to 375 F.
Bake the taralli for 40-50 minutes, flipping them over half way through.
Remove them from the oven when they are a nice even, golden brown.
Transfer to a rack to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.
Boiling taralli and laid down on parchment paper for baking.
Making taralli is labour intensive but the crispy and delicious finished product was more than worthwhile! While I enjoyed both batches, my favourite is still the fennel seeds one. Unfortunately, I didn't put enough chili flakes to get enough kick. I would also add more rosemary next time for more punch. (The recipe above reflects the more generous quantities.) Other great ideas for flavourings would be to roll the boiled taralli with sesame seeds, or with very finely grated Parmesan. They make a perfect pairing with a glass of wine!