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Sicilian cuscinetti filanti con ricotta
Cuscinetti filanti con ricotta alla Palermiltana (Sicilian savory cheese fritters filled with ricotta, eggs and Parmesan)
Originated from: Palermo, Sicily
Occasion: Easter and other times
Contributed by: Adapted from "Italian Cookbook for Quantity Service" by Harry Caleva (1956)

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For firm dough
1 pound (about 4 cups) flour
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup warm water

For filling
1 pound (about 3 cups) ricotta
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Vegetable oil for deep frying


Knead together flour, butter, salt and warm water to form a firm dough (If the dough is too soft, add a touch more water, if it is too soft, add a touch more flour).

Cover and let stand 1 hour.

Roll dough into thin sheets and cut into discs about 4 inches in diameter.

Mix the ricotta with eggs and grated cheese.

Place about 1 heaping teaspoon ricotta mixture on each disc and fold over, sealing edges together well.

Fry a few at a time in hot oil until golden brown and place on absorbent paper towels.

Serve either as appetizers, or serve as a main meal with spaghetti sauce sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.


The recipe in this entry was adapted from one published in the cookbook, "Italian Cookbook for Quantity Service, Authentic Professional Recipes" by Harry Caleva (New York: Ahrens Publishing, 1956).... The cookbook can be borrowed for free at the on-line public library, www.openbook.org It seems that the word, "cuscinetti," refers to different types of stuffed pastries depending on region the word it is used. In some areas (such as Puglia) the word refers to pastries filled with nuts and jam, rather than with savory cheese ones. Apparently, in Palermo, Sicily, the word, "cuscinetti" generally describes savory cheese fritters which are often served with tomato sauce and not served on their own. In many areas of Abruzzo, Molise and Campania, this style of savory cheese fritter is served as an appetizer without sauce of any kind. Also in these areas this style of savory cheese fritters is traditionally served for the Easter festivities (though nowadays they are probably served any old time). Comments and photo: Mary Melfi

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