Cacio e Pepe Fritters
Salty, peppery, cheesy, creamy and crunchy little bites of heaven. Classically, Cacio e Pepe is a Roman pasta dish. But when the powerful team of Pecorino, Parmesan and black pepper is deep fried, it becomes an irresistible appetizer -- perfecto for any aperitivo. I'll have mine with a classic Negroni, per favore... ciao!
1 stick butter
2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
2 cups cheese
1 Tbsp black pepper
In a medium pot, heat butter, salt and 1 cup water over medium-high. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt and remove from heat. Add flour, and stir to combine with wooden spoon. Return pot to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and there is a film on the bottom, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, combine cheeses and black pepper. Add all but 1/2 cup cheese mixture to flour mixture, reserve remaining cheese mixture for later. Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition to thoroughly incorporate.
Meanwhile, add 2 inches of neutral oil, such as canola, to a heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 350F. Using two spoons, drop golf ball-sized balls of cacio e pepe batter into the hot oil. Working in batches, fry until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer fritters to a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. Dredge warm fritters into reserved cheese mixture. Enjoy with a Negroni!