the real deal pizza pockets

we made panzerotti tonight to welcome back my in-laws from their travels and say bon voyage to my bother-in-law's girlfriend (who calls them pizza pockets). we originally learned how to make panzerotti at a cooking class in venice, italy, on our honeymoon, a gift courtesy of my in-laws. our cooking instructor was chef marika seguso of acquolina catering, which i would highly recommend if you want to learn how to make authentic italian food. we learned how to make three different dishes, including homemade pasta, and a yummy dessert. here's the panzerotti recipe that we enjoyed tonight:


1 1/4 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cups flour (+more as needed for work surface)
2 Tbsp olive oil (+more to grease the bowl)
2 tsp salt

tomato sauce (we make a homemade sauce, but prepared sauce works well and saves time)
mozzarella (or other cheese)
kalamata olives
fresh basil

  1. combine the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl, mixing well; let sit for 10 minutes to allow the top to foam and become frothy (indicating that the yeast is active). if it doesn't do that, discard & start again. Use a thermometer to make sure the water is between 110-130 degrees F, or the yeast wont activate.
  2. combine the flour, salt & oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. beat on low speed for one minute until well incorporated, then add the water-yeast mixture in a slow, steady stream. beat for about five minutes, stopping to scrape down the dies of the bowl as necessary, until the dough forms and pulls cleanly from the sides of the bowl. Add flour or water to compensate if the dough is too wet or dry. transfer the dough to the work surface and kneed with the palm of the hand until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  3. transfer the dough to the oiled bowl, cover with a clean, dry dish towel and let sit for one to two hours at room temperature, until the mixture almost doubles in size. dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic warp and refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to one month)
  4. break off handful pieces of the dough, after it has risen, and roll out circles about six or so inches in diameter, about a quarter inch thick
  5. place a spoonful of tomato sauce & other filling ingredients in the center; be sure not to put too much as the dough edges need to be folded over
  6. close the dough in a half moon shape, ensure that as much air as possible is squeezed out & the dough is secured so as not the let air in (make sure the sauce doesn't have too much liquid, or they might explode during frying)
  7. deep fry in a deep pan with very hot canola oil until lightly browned (we use a wok)
  8. season with a pinch of salt and serve
  9. enjoy them while they're hot!

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