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Pepper Taralli/Pescuotteglie (without yeast, with vegetable oil, eggs, flour and black pepper; boiled and baked)
Originated from: Cercemaggiore, Molise, Italy
Occasion: Any time
Contributed by: Taken from Rizzi DeFabo's cookbook, "Cooking with Rizzi" (Crabtree Press, 2010)

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For Dough:
12 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons black pepper
6 to 7 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

With an electric mixer, beat eggs, oil, salt, and pepper together for about 5-6 minutes.

Transfer egg mixture to a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder.

Gradually stir into egg-mixture to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead until a soft, elastic dough is formed. Keep dough soft. If it is too sticky, add additional flour.

Divide dough into 12 equal parts.

Roll each piece into a rope about 5 inches long. Press ends together to form a donut shape.

On stove top, place a large pot of water on medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Add a few taralli at a time to boiling water.

When the taralli rise to the top, boil for 2 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, turn them over and boil for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove taralli from water and place on dish towels to drain.

With a pair of kitchen shears or sharp knife, cut around the circumference of the taralli, so that when they are baked, the cut will separate and form an indentation.

Place taralli directly on oven rack.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. While in oven, turn taralli over and rotate. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and place on racks to cool.

Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

YIELD: 1 dozen.


This recipe was taken from Rizzi DeFabo's cookbook, "Cooking with Rizzi" (Crabtree Press, 2010) with the expressed permission of the author, an award-winning Italian-American chef and owner of "Rizzo's Malabar Inn." "Rizzo's Malabar Inn" is located in southwestern Pennsylvania (126 Rizzo Road, Crabtree, Salem Township). The food served at this restaurant, a local landmark dating back to the 1920s, reflects the culinary traditions of Abruzzo and Molise. Rizzi DeFabo notes in his cookbook that "The people of Cercemaggiore call Peper Taralli pescuottegie, and they often enjoy them dipped in a glass of good wine....." Photo: Mary Melfi.

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