The fried gnocco (dumpling) is a traditional Italian recipe from Emilia Romagna and it is a dough for fried bread stuffed with meats and cheeses. The origins of the recipe go back to the cuisine of the Lombards who could have passed it on to the Italians. Depending on the area, it takes different names but this dish is always served as an appetizer or to accompany the different courses instead of bread.
Dissolve the yeast in slightly warm water (1). Add it to the flour and knead (2). Add lard and salt when the mixture starts to amalgamate and continue to work it (3). Transfer the dough onto the table and work it for at least 5 minutes.
When the dough is ready put it in a bowl and cover it with the film (4). Let it leaven for about an hour. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it has a thickness of about ½ cm (5). Give a rectangular shape to the mixture and divide it into 3 or 4 strips (6).
Divide the dough into squares (7). Fry each gnocco in plenty of boiling oil (8). Turn the gnocco after a few minutes so that it is golden on both sides. When cooked, place each gnocco to dry for two minutes on the absorbent paper so that it loses the excess oil (9). Serve the fried dumpling still warm.
To have a decidedly lighter fried gnocco you can prepare a dough without lard. Replace lard with milk and extra virgin olive oil, in this way it will be softer and lighter. But, above all, you will get a vegetarian dough.
The fried gnocco should be consumed immediately, hot frying and served on the table. If you think, however, that they are too many then freeze the dough before leavening. When you have to cook it, take it out of the freezer and put it in a bowl and let it leaven for about 3 hours before rolling it out and dividing it.