Mom's Taralle Barese

These crunchy, toasty Italian pretzels have been in my family since I was a little girl. My mom would make these for the feast of St. Michael on September 29th. My mom would make them exclusively with fennel seed, however, you can leave out the fennel, and replace with hot pepper flakes. They really go well with wine and sharp provolone.

Here's my mama with my sisters

Here's my mama with my sisters

Have with a glass of red wine. Italians like to dunk into the wine.

Have with a glass of red wine. Italians like to dunk into the wine.

7 1/3 cups white flour

1 cup olive oil

¼ cup fennel seeds*

4 oz red wine

½ tbsp salt

½ tbsp black pepper

Put flour on the working surface in a large mound. Make a hole in the middle of the mound and slowly add the oil and fennel seeds by stirring from the middle.

Add the salt and peper to the wine and mix well. Add the wine to the flour. Keep stirring and mixing until all the liquids get absorbed by the flour.

If dough is too hard to work, add 1 tbsp of warm water, as needed. Knead dough until it is elastic and bouces back to the touch, around 10-12 minutes.

Make a roll with the dough. Let rest covered for 15 minutes. Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut out a piece of dough and roll out into a rope.

Take end of rope and make a long loop and secure (resembling the letter L in cursive writing.)

Scald in boiling water for less than one minute. Strain and lay down on a clean tablecloth, it will stick to smooth surface.

Let the taralle dry out very well.

Place tarelli on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. They should be very dry.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees – bake for approximately 30 – 35 minutes – depending on your oven.

You can substitute fennel seeds with hot pepper flakes.