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Pumpkin Fritters Fra Diavolo

October 12, 2019 12:00 PM

Pumpkin Fritters Fra Diavolo from Chef Ric Orlando - New World Bistro Bar, Albany NY

After you have made all the pies and soup you can eat, try these!

My Grandmother Mary was a true Sicilian– and she loved to fry vegetables. As kids, when we cut our jack-o-lanterns, the noses, eyes, mouths and other dismembered sections were deftly encrusted in lightly seasoned breadcrumbs, kissed by the oil and allowed to steam in the delicate casing. Yes, pumpkin is one of my favorite veggies to fry alla Nonna! Serve these on a pool of zesty tomato sauce and hit them with a quick grating of Locatelli Romano while they are still hot. This recipe gets a *4 on the Ric-ter scale.

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Serves 4

1 medium 5-8 pound pumpkin

flour, eggs, and plain bread crumbs as needed

grapeseed or vegetable oil for frying

salt and pepper

Fra diavolo sauce

1-16 oz can  tomatoes, crushed

1 small hot pepper or a pinch of crushed red pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pinch of dry oregano

2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)

Locatelli Romano cheese or other very sharp grating cheese

In a medium pot or large skillet, add the olive oil, garlic and hot pepper. When the garlic begins to sizzle and get golden edges, add the tomatoes and oregano. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and gently simmer until you have finished your frying. This can also be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Cut the top off of the pumpkin and scrape out the seeds and guts. Reserve for "stock."

Wedge the pumpkin and carefully shave off the skin with a sharp knife. Slice into ¼ thick slices.

Set up a breading station:

  • one pan of flour seasoned to taste with salt and pepper
  • one dish with two eggs whsiked with ¼ cup of cool water
  • one pan of unseasoned bread crumbs

Working with one hand, dip and coat a piece of pumpkin in flour and shake off the excess. Now dip in egg wash, shake off that excess too, and finally coat in breadcrumbs. Lay on parchment or waxed paper. Continue until all pumpkin is breaded.

In a cast iron skillet, heavy wok or Dutch oven, heat one inch of oil to about 325-335 F. Keep a lid on hand to snuff out any flare-ups.

Fry pieces until golden on one side, carefully turn and finish for about 60 seconds. Line a cookie sheet with paper towels and put each piece on the paper to absorb any remaining oil.

Line each of four plates with hot tomato sauce. Arrange hot pumpkin slices on the plates attractively and garnish with a generous grating of Romano cheese and parsley... Amazing!

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