PARMA BREAD PILLOWS!!!! I can't believe it was actually a year ago now, but last Easter when we visited Italy, with Chelsea and CJ, we made a special trip to Parma. The home of Proscuitto de Parma and parmesan cheese!! It was my biggest request of towns to visit on this trip. Modena, the home of balsamic vinegar, was my second. We made it to both, which were spectacular!! There are no words to describe the experience of going into these towns and visiting the families that have remained true to their tradition and still make the vinegar. An amazing experience. The only problem was, we traveled all that way and did not realize that the ham farms and parmesan cheese farms would be closed on Easter Monday. Bad timing, uugghh!!! So, this still remains on my bucket list. I will get back there someday. Believe me... this is not the only reason I will get back to Parma. The bread pillows....worth the trip. We stopped and had lunch at an amazing restaurant where you saw them making the fresh pastas and raviolis from the window as you walked by. Good idea... because you can not walk by!! You must eat!! So we sat down and they immediately brought over a board, piled high, with proscuitto, ham, soppresata and parmesan. I have eaten these all my life, but.. felt like I had never eaten them before. Melt in your mouth....perfection!! Then, they put down a basket of these freshly made, hot, bread pillows!! They were so light and they just pulled apart, so you could break off pieces as you eat the meat. The perfect pair. We definitely looked like crazy Americans when we asked for our third basket. My son CJ... fell in love. So, when we got home, he insisted that I make them. I will tell you now, they are not, nor ever will be (no matter what I do) the same as when your sitting in Parma, Italy. But, they will have to do until we get back. It's as close as we will get for awhile.
PARMA BREAD PILLOWS
4 1/2 CUPS OF FLOUR 1 OZ ACTIVE YEAST 2 TBLSP OLIVE OIL 1 TSP BAKING SODA 1/2 CUP MILK WARM 1/2 CUP WATER WARM 1 TSP SALT OIL FOR FRYING
Place the flour on a good work surface and make a well in the middle. Place the yeast in the warm water and milk. When dissolved, add this mixture into the well of the flour along with the olive oil. Start incorporating together then add the salt and continue kneading until smooth and elastic to the touch.
Place the dough in a bowl prepared with a nonstick spray and cover. Let the dough rise about 30 minutes. Roll the dough out on a floured surface with a rolling pin until you reach a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Cut the dough into triangle shapes. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a dutch oven. Fry on each side just until puffed and lightly golden. They will puff up like pillows...its like magic!!
Make these and serve with a board of proscuitto and parmesan. Add a glass of wine, throw on some nice Italian music and ENJOY!!