This is another of those quick-to-assemble dishes perfect for entertaining. Inspired by a dish I used to love years ago at Castelmola restaurant in Leichhardt, the addition of mustard fruit takes this snack from yum to wow! I use Vannella nodini – large, juicy, bite-sized knots of fresh mozzarella – but you could use smaller bocconcini if they aren’t available. Flat pancetta is best for this recipe, but improvise if you need to by using the fatty strip from rolled pancetta and saving the meaty centre for another dish. I really enjoy these snacks with a glass of Ponente 270 Lambrusco dell’Emilia (imported by Godot Wines). Salute!
Makes about 14 pieces
- 400g nodini mozzarella
- 250g thinly sliced flat pancetta
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced mustard fruit
- Check the hard rind has been removed from the pancetta, if not peel it off.
- Place a slice of mustard fruit on each cheese.
- Wrap a slice of pancetta around to enclose it and spear it with a small skewer to hold it in place.
- Place on a baking paper-lined oven tray.
- Heat the overhead grill to very hot.
- Place baking tray under the grill for 3-5 minutes, until pancetta is crisp.
- Serve grilled mozzarella immediately with cold wine and good company.
What is nodini?
Nodini, literally ‘knots’, are juicy bite-sized knots of fresh mozzarella. Vannella Cheese produces an excellent version.
What can I substitute for nodini?
Use any firm fresh mozzarella instead of nodini, such as bocconcini (‘little mouthfuls’), ciliegine (‘cherries’), ovoline (‘little ovals’).
Is pancetta flat or round?
Pancetta comes in two basic shapes: round (arrotolata) and flat (stesa). It can be salt-cured, smoked or spiced up with some dried chilli flakes. Flat is best for this recipe, but you can make do with round if that’s all that’s available. Use the chilli- flecked version if you like a little extra heat.
What is mustard fruit?
Mostarda di frutta is spicy candied fruit in a mustard-flavoured syrup from northern Italy. Pears, quinces, cherries and other fruits are commonly used.
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