chiacchiere di carnevale
Chiacchiere di Carnevale

This Italian delicacy is traditional at Carnival time–just one scrumptious part of the revelry that happens before the lenten season begins. Chiacchiere di Carnevale–“carnival chats”–are little more than fried dough, but that doesn’t begin to describe the myriad regional recipes that exist all over Italy. Here’s a traditional recipe from the Veneto region (where they sometimes call these treats fritole or frittelle all a Veneziana). The magic ingredient–of course–is grappa.

2 Tbs butter, softened
1 egg
2 Tbs grappa
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
1 cup flour
Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Prepare the dough: In a bowl, combine the butter, egg, and grappa. Next, combine the salt, sugar and flour.  Stir until the dough is stiff. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for a half hour. Divide the dough in half. Roll out each batch as thin as possible. Cut dough into 1″ strips with a pastry cutter.

Fry the dough: In a deep fryer or skillet, heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry the strips until puffy and golden, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer the strips to paper bowl with a slotted spoon.

When cool, dust the strips with confectioner’s sugar and serve immediately.