400g tipo 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
5g active dry yeast
fine sea salt
50g unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon olive oil
180–200ml full-cream milk, warmed
vegetable oil, for frying
thinly sliced prosciutto, to serve

If you find yourself in Modena, chances are you will eat gnocco fritto (pillowy fried dough) at some point in the day. Whether for breakfast or as a snack with prosciutto, cheese or salami, they’re incredible. They are really easy to eat – almost too easy – so I suggest having a small crowd at the ready to help you devour them. Traditionally fried in pork fat, I’ve opted for a neutral vegetable oil here.


1.In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast and a pinch of salt.
2.Add the butter and, using your fingertips, rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
3.Pour in the olive oil followed by the warm milk and incorporate using your hands until you have a soft, but not sticky, dough.
4.Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth.
5.Cover and rest for 3–4 hours at room temperature.
6.Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a 3mm thickness.
7.Using a fluted pastry cutter or a knife, cut the dough into 4cm squares.
8.You can cut bigger squares if you like, however I do prefer them this size.
9.Heat 5cm of vegetable oil in a heavy-based saucepan or deep-fryer to 180°C, or hot enough that a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 15 seconds.
10.Fry the gnocco in batches for about 4 minutes until they are puffy and slightly golden, flipping halfway.
11.When you initially put the gnocco in the oil, spoon some of the oil over them to encourage them to puff up and become bubbly.
12.Drain on paper towel, then serve immediately with the prosciutto.

An edited extract from A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura.

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