There are always vegetables on our table, twice a day, lunch and dinner. We Italians call this ‘contorno’ (sides) and it is ever-present in all our meals. This is a great habit to get your ‘five a day’ and stay healthy. My husband, my daughter Virginia and I love our vegetables! Not so much my son Niccolò – it has always been hard to get him to eat his veggies. However, like most mums, I have an ace up my sleeve! Even Niccolò can’t resist my ‘verdure in pastella’ and I am pretty sure they can become your children’s favourite veggies too. Try and let me know how you get on!
INGREDIENTS (for 4 portions)
- around 700g of any kind of vegetables (here I have used 1 courgette, 2 carrots, 1 ramiro pepper, half cauliflower, half head of broccoli)
- 100 g flour (plain or strong white)
- 1 egg
- 100 ml beer (or sparkling water, but I think beer works better)
- vegetable frying oil
Peel the carrots and wash the other vegetables. Cut the vegetables in pieces (about 5/6 cm). Then make the ‘pastella’ by combining flour, 1 egg, beer and a good pinch of salt. Mix well with a mixer.
Mix the pastella and vegetables together until the veg are well coated. In the meantime heat some oil in a frying pan for deep-frying.
Deep-fry the vegetables until golden and crispy. When ready, put your veg on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Alternatively, you can place them directly onto a paper towel for a few minutes to absorb some of the oil, but don’t leave them there too long as the paper towel will trap steam and cause your food to get soggy.
The classic pairing of wine with fried food in Italy is Spumante Brut. The bubbles balance the fried oil very well. A Ferrari brut, a classic from Trentino Alto Adige, (better still if Riserva), is a good match with Rita’s pastella veg. The aromas of walnuts, bread crust and croissants compensate the acidity of the fried food and the bubbles will balance the flavours by ‘degreasing’ the intensity of the dish.
If you don’t like sparkling wines, I recommend a white Somereto Chardonnay from Veneto, a more risky choice than sparkling wine but equally balanced in this case. I have chosen a Chardonnay from producer Cantina Adriano. Their wines from 2018 or younger are affordable and easy to find abroad. But remember – this recommendation does not apply to all fried food – only to light batters and vegetables like the yummy pastella.