Taralli are like savory breadsticks rolled to form a ring, round and crispy, first boiled and then baked. They are a traditional Italian snack, perfect for a quick, hunger-breaking treat.
We generally use them as bread substitutes to enjoy with cold cuts and cheeses. They are also great as an appetizer with a good glass of red wine.
Taralli have a characteristic circular shape, a golden surface and a crisp and crumbly texture.
Depending on the areas of production, Taralli recipe has many variations: small, large, somewhat elongated or round in shape, and flavored with different types of spices, like fennel for example. There are also sweet versions of these delicious crunchy Italian snack (sweet taralli).
Taralli are widespread throughout Italy, but the primacy of tradition belongs to the southern regions.
Taralli Pugliesi and Neapolitan taralli (with “sugna” lard, pepper and almonds) are the most famous.
The taralli Pugliese, also called tarallini or tarallucci because of their small size, are the most popular. There is also the larger Taralli from Puglia with a round but slightly flattened and elongated shape that they call scaldatelli.
What we are going to show you is the authentic recipe for Taralli Pugliesi. It’s an easy recipe made with a few simple ingredients. The steps to make taralli at home are also quite easy to follow.
You have to make a dough with flour, dry white wine and extra virgin olive oil. From this dough you make small rolls that you fold into the shape of a ring.
First you have to boil them in water and finally bake them. Here the taralli take on a golden surface and the typical crumbly, slightly crispy texture!
Try making this Taralli recipe. You can enrich your buffet and your table with these tasty, crunchy Italian taralli.
- Prep Time: 40 Min
- Cook Time: 40 Min
- Servings: about 50 Tarallini or about 20 big Taralli
- 550 g (4 1/2 cups) of “00” flour
- 200 g (1 cup) of dry white wine
- 125 g (1/2 cup) of extra virgin olive oil
- 12 g (2 teaspoons) of fine salt
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
- First of all, a large bowl is useful for making the first part of the dough.
- Then you certainly cannot do without a work surface for kneading. There are beautiful wooden kneading surfaces or practical non stick silicone mats.
- You need pot to do the first cooking of taralli in boiling water.
- Then a strainer to remove the boiled taralli from the water as soon as they come to the surface.
- Some trays on which to lay the taralli to cool and drain.
- Parchment paper to line the tray and prevent them from sticking to the bottom.
- Finally bake them. Once cooled, the taralli can be stored in glass jars or food bags. This keeps them crisp and crumbly for a long time.
- You can also gift your delicious homemade taralli to your friends in pretty airtight ceramic jars.
Taralli Recipe: Instructions
Step 1) – First prepare the dough. You can also do it in the mixer if you prefer, but traditionally the dough is made by hand.
In a large bowl place the flour. Then add the salt and extra virgin olive oil.
Mix until you get a grainy consistency.
Step 2) – Now add the dry white wine. Stir a little to allow the liquid to be absorbed. Then knead with your hands.
Step 3) – Transfer the dough to the pastry board. Knead with your hands for about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and free of breaks or lumps.
Shape into a loaf. Finally cover the dough with a tea towel to prevent it from drying out.
Step 4) – Pull off small pieces of dough. Using your fingers, roll each piece on the pastry board and form a roll of dough about 1 cm (about 1/2 inch) thick and 13 cm (5 inches) long.
PLEASE NOTE: The size of the rings depends on your taste and how you want to use the taralli. Small taralli are perfect on their own as a snack or with an aperitif. To accompany cured meats and cheeses, or as bread substitutes, you may want to make them larger.
Step 5) – Close the dough roll by joining and overlapping the two ends. Form a ring of dough and set aside. Continue until you run out of dough.
Step 6) – Boil some water in a fairly large pot. Dip a few taralli at a time into the boiling water. When they are cooked, the taralli come to the surface.
Step 7) – As soon as they rise to the surface, remove them with a skimmer. Place them on a tray covered with a tea towel. This will allow the taralli to absorb excess water and cool.
Step 8) – Preheat the oven to 190°C (370°F). Transfer the taralli to a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Bake for about 40 minutes, until they have a nice golden color. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
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How to Store Taralli
Let the taralli cool very well. Then store them in plastic food bags or tightly sealed jars.
This will keep the taralli crisp and crumbly for up to 15 days.
Freezing is not recommended.
Taralli Recipe: Some Variations
It’s possible to make many tasty variations of the classic Taralli recipe from Puglia. Just add some spices or herbs to the dough according to taste.
- Spicy Taralli: For example, you can make spicy taralli by adding half a teaspoon of chili pepper, finely chopped olives or sun-dried tomatoes to the dough.
- Fennel Taralli: The most popular and traditional variant, which can be considered a classic along with taralli with oil only, is the one with fennel seeds. In Puglia it’s very common to flavor foods with fennel seeds. For example, sausage with fennel is very famous and so are some pasta sauces. Taralli with fennel are no different. The fennel seeds give the taralli a very distinctive anise aroma and scent. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds to the dough.
- Taralli Pugliesi with Pizza Flavor: The recipe for pizza-flavored taralli calls for adding 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano and 1 tablespoon of grated pecorino cheese to the dough. These are typical Mediterranean ingredients that characterize these very tasty and flavorful taralli.
- Onion-flavored taralli: Onion-flavored taralli are very appetizing. To add the onion to the dough, proceed as follows: cut a medium-sized onion into very small pieces. Sauté it in a pan with a little oil until it is well cooked and soft. Allow it to cool completely. Only at this point you can add it to the taralli dough.
Origins and History of Taralli
The origin of the word “taralli” is not known with certainty. Some say from the Latin “torrère” (toasted bread), others from the French “toral” (dryer).
Referring to its round shape, some think that taralli comes instead from the Italian “tar” (to wrap).
The most accepted thesis, however, wants taralli to descend from the Greek etymology “daratos,” “sort of bread.”
The origin of the taralli recipe is usually traced back to the 1400s, to the times when famines raged in Apulia.
Legend has it that it was a mother who kneaded the first taralli. Not knowing how to feed her children, she used what she had in her pantry: flour, extra virgin olive oil, salt and white wine.
These products were never lacking in Puglia’s pantries. She created a ring-shaped dough, which she then baked in the oven.
The result was surprising and started a centuries-old tradition that still lasts today.
Over time there were minor refinements: in addition to being baked, the taralli were first boiled to make them crispier and crumblier.
Spices were also added to flavor them, such as classic fennel seeds or chopped olives.
Pugliese taralli soon spread throughout southern Italy. Particularly in Naples, the tradition of taralli took special root.
However, the evolution of the Neapolitan Taralli led to a completely different recipe that has in common with the Apulian one only the name.
The history of Neapolitan taralli begins around the year 700 when Neapolitan bakers began to use the scraps of dough with which bread was made, to which they then added a little “sugna,” or lard (‘nzogna in Neapolitan dialect) and lots of black pepper.
From these ingredients came the famous “taralli sugna e pepe”.
In the early 19th century the taralli “nzogna e pepe” were enriched with another ingredient that is still an integral part of it today: almonds. So Neapolitan taralli have some yeast and contains high amounts of animal fat.
Besides the ingredients, the cooking method also differs from the Taralli from Puglia. The Neapolitan taralli don’t have two cooking processes like the Pugliese taralli, but are baked directly in the oven without boiling.
Taralli: Symbol of Conviviality
Taralli, since their origins, have always been a symbol of conviviality. They were the dish of the family gathering for dinner after a long day of work.
They accompanied moments of togetherness, informality and lightheartedness.
The hosts would offer taralli to guests with a glass of wine as a sign of welcome.
In other words, the host, by presenting the guest with the typical dish of the family meal, used taralli as a form of cordiality and friendship, establishing an atmosphere of serenity.
“Finire a Tarallucci e Vino”
In Italy we often use the expression “finire a tarallucci e vino”. Metaphorically, we use this expression to refer to an initially complicated or adverse situation that eventually ends amicably, in a serene atmosphere.
Just like the atmosphere generated by the tarallucci and wine offered, once upon a time, to guests.