Want to take your grazing platter to the next level – with minimal effort and ingredients? Swap out the supermarket crackers for a crisp, pillowy Italian favourite, gnocco fritto.

“If you find yourself in Modena, chances are you will eat gnocco fritto at some point in the day,” says cookbook author Busuttil Nishimura. “Whether for breakfast or as a snack with prosciutto, cheese or salami, they’re incredible.”

Traditionally gnocco fritto is made with pork fat, but Busuttil Nishimura’s version uses a neutral vegetable oil.

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“[These] are really easy to eat – almost too easy – so I suggest having a small crowd at the ready to help you devour them,” she says.

Looking for a wine pairing to match? Busuttil Nishimura recommends the 2021 Mandi Friulano Malvasia – a textured and savoury orange wine made in Victoria as an homage to the Friuli region in north-eastern Italy. It’s one of the wines included in her Broadsheet Wine box – available in limited quantities until May 5.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s gnocco fritto
Serves 8–10 as a snack

Ingredients:
400g tipo 00 flour, plus extra for dusting

5g active dry yeast

Fine sea salt

50g unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp olive oil

180–200ml full-cream milk, warmed

Vegetable oil, for frying
Thinly sliced prosciutto, to serve

Method:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast and a pinch of salt. Add the butter and, using your fingertips, rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pour in the olive oil followed by the warm milk and incorporate using your hands until you have a soft, but not sticky, dough. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth. Cover and rest for 3–4 hours at room temperature.

Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a 3mm thickness. Using a fluted pastry cutter or a knife, cut the dough into 4cm squares. You can cut bigger squares if you like, however I do prefer them this size.

Heat 5cm of vegetable oil in a heavy-based saucepan or deep-fryer to 180°C, or hot enough that a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 15 seconds. Fry the gnocco in batches for about 4 minutes until they are puffy and slightly golden, flipping halfway. When you initially put the gnocco in the oil, spoon some of the oil over them to encourage them to puff up and become bubbly. Drain on paper towel, then serve immediately with the prosciutto.

This is an edited extract from A Year of Simple Family Food, published by Plum and available for $39.99.

Grab Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s Broadsheet Wine box until May 5.

julia-ostro.com