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Where in the world is Panzarotti? Why is so little heard about them?

Passadumkeg Jul 22, 2010 08:20 AM

I've been following the Stromboli vs Calzoni thread w/ interest. In my youth in NJ, I used to very much enjoy paszarotti, much like a calzone, but smaller, flakier crust and deep fried. Where else are they popular and why is so little heard about them outside the NYC/Philly area?

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  1. greygarious RE: Passadumkeg Jul 24, 2010 10:09 PM

    Wikipedia says their US epicenter is southern NJ. Ask Snookie. :-)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzarotti

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious
      MandalayVA RE: greygarious Jul 28, 2010 06:44 AM

      Snooki is a benny from New York and would know nothing about panzarottis. And if you don't know what a benny is you're definitely not from Jersey. :D

    2. MandalayVA RE: Passadumkeg Jul 26, 2010 09:29 AM

      I went to college at Rowan University (The Artist Formerly Known As Glassboro State College, about twenty miles outside Philly) and Super Sub had THE BEST panzarottis. I also have never seen them outside south Jersey. Alas, Super Sub no longer seems to exist and is now called Ciconte's--and seems to no longer offer panzarottis. :(

      1. Karl S RE: Passadumkeg Jul 26, 2010 10:23 AM

        Possibly because empanadas and arepas caught on earlier elsewhere.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Karl S
          Passadumkeg RE: Karl S Jul 26, 2010 10:27 AM

          KS, pansarotti are Italian, aren't empanadas and arepas Latin American?

          1. re: Passadumkeg
            Karl S RE: Passadumkeg Jul 26, 2010 11:05 AM

            Panzarotti are Italian-American from a particular part of the US. Empanadas, arepas and meat pies are Caribbean and Latin American and showed up more broadly in different urban and suburban areas of the US. I remember getting empanadas in the 70s on Long Island.

            Then there are chimichangas....

            1. re: Karl S
              Passadumkeg RE: Karl S Jul 26, 2010 11:32 AM

              We are saying the same thing. I learned Italian food growing upin Jersey (Bon Jovi & I went tio the same high school) and lived in Bolivia and New Mexico for 15 years.
              My question is why are calzoni & stromboli ubiquitious and panzarotti limited to mainly So. Jersey?
              Paisano Passadumkeg

              1. re: Passadumkeg
                greygarious RE: Passadumkeg Jul 26, 2010 12:03 PM

                I wonder if the advent of Hot Pockets, Totino's Pizza Rolls, and the like bumped them out of the wrapped-then-fried Italian ingredient niche. Pizzerias don't HAVE to have fryalators so the calzone approach makes sense for them. But there are plenty that also offer deep-fried foods, so it does seem like they would make the fried version if it sold well. Maybe people are more satisfied with Hot Pockets than frozen pizza.

                1. re: greygarious
                  MandalayVA RE: greygarious Jul 28, 2010 06:58 AM

                  I don't think that has anything to do with it. It's strictly a "south Jersey around Philly" thing. Kind of like only being able to get steamed cheeseburgers in a tiny part of Connecticut.

          2. re: Karl S
            E Eto RE: Karl S Jul 26, 2010 01:14 PM


          3. s
            Steve RE: Passadumkeg Jul 26, 2010 01:33 PM

            Looks like, from the other thread linked by E Eto, that Galleria Umberto in Boston has them.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Steve
              tatamagouche RE: Steve Jul 28, 2010 06:57 AM

              And they were terrific. Also great arancini there.

              1. re: tatamagouche
                kimfair1 RE: tatamagouche Jul 28, 2010 07:53 AM

                The panzarotti at Gallaria Umberto will not be familiar to those looking for a calzone like filled dough. Theirs is a herbed mashed potato log with mozzarella in the center, coated and fried, no dough involved. They're great, but not what most of you are thinking of.

            2. m
              Masonville RE: Passadumkeg Jul 27, 2010 05:53 PM

              This is very interesting. When I was in college (late 60's) in--of all places--Dubuque, Iowa, there was a tiny counter place with maybe 6 stools that specialized in panzarotti. It was one of most wonderful pastries I've ever had. Flakey light crust, cheese/tomato filling. If I could have afforded it, I'd have eaten a dozen at a sitting. Never seen anything remotely like in the Midwest, then or since. Maybe this guy was an immigrant from NJ. Who knows.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Masonville
                Passadumkeg RE: Masonville Jul 28, 2010 03:53 AM

                I think as we travel, we're going to do a hunt for The Holy Panzarotti and report back. Funny, for a little state, NJ has a goodly share of special foods; the panzarotti, the NJ Sloppy Joe, the Italian hot dog, Taylor Pork Roll sandwiches and........

                1. re: Passadumkeg
                  Karl S RE: Passadumkeg Jul 28, 2010 05:18 AM

                  Rhode Island is like that, too. Lots of local specialties.

              2. f
                FrankD RE: Passadumkeg Jul 28, 2010 06:11 AM

                Here in the Great White North, panzarotti are baked, not deep fried, and available at pretty much every pizza joint. Not at all flaky - i.e not a pastry type crust, but much more like a pizza that's been folded over on itself.

                Just in case you wander north of the boredom, I want you to know what to expect!

                4 Replies
                1. re: FrankD
                  Karl S RE: FrankD Jul 28, 2010 06:16 AM

                  Sounds like a calzone. How do your calzoni differ from panzarotti?

                  1. re: Karl S
                    MandalayVA RE: Karl S Jul 28, 2010 06:39 AM

                    A panzarotti is always fried.

                    1. re: MandalayVA
                      Karl S RE: MandalayVA Jul 28, 2010 07:45 AM

                      Well, apparently, in Ontario, they call baked calzoni-like items panzarotti, so I was trying to figure out if they actually had something called calzone that was any different from what they call panzarotti.

                      1. re: Karl S
                        FrankD RE: Karl S Jul 30, 2010 10:22 AM

                        Some places call them "calzones", some places "panzarotti", and one place split the difference by calling it a "pizzone". Regardless, it's a standard pizza crust, not a pastry, and it's baked, not deep fried. Popular among teenage boys as they can be eaten while driving without everything falling on your shirt; I've frankly never seen a woman eat one.

                2. g
                  grlwhoeats RE: Passadumkeg Jul 28, 2010 07:29 PM

                  Panzarotti. My second generation Italian grandmother made two kinds- potato and rice. Potato is basically mashed potato with egg, salt, pepper, parsley and grated parmesano-reggiano cheese, rolled into a ball and then rolled in bread crumbs and fried in hot oil, drain, eat. Rice is cooked white rice (fancy arborio, not necessary), salt /pepper, egg, parsley, grated parmesano-reggiano and shredded mozerella, rolled into a ball (more like an egg shape), rolled in bread crumbs and friend in hot oil. I prefer the rice. I have no idea if panzarotti is the correct name for either of the items I have described above, but that's what she called them and they are gooooooood, so who cares. I've made the rice. I've never heard of panzarotti outside of my own family's Christmas dinner. Christmas dinner: Antipasto- assorted cheeses, Italian meats, pickled vegetables, olivies, anchovies, etc...Escarole Soup, bread and more bread, Pasta - usually stuffed shells with a side of meatballs and sausage- we called it sauce, not gravy. Meat course- lagerte (again, not idea if that's correct)- basically an eye roast braised tenderly with Italian herbs, red wine vinegar and olive oil- and vegetables- onion, carrot, celery, parsley diced up- Panzarotti and stuffed artichokes, which you pull apart and dip in olive oil and salt. Then fruits and nuts basket. Then dessert and coffee- all from Terminis in Philadelphi- Rum Cake, Canollis; homemade pizzelles and strufoli (fried teeny-tiny dough balls soaked in rum and honey and stacked into a big tower).Then cordials. Then you lay down wherever there is enough space in a food coma. Anyway, that's how we do panzaroti. Enjoy.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: grlwhoeats
                    grlwhoeats RE: grlwhoeats Jul 29, 2010 07:56 PM

                    Um, on second thought/remembering/talking to my mother. Panzarotti were only the potato kind. There is another name for the fried rice balls that neither of us can remember. But I can make them and that's what matters!

                    1. re: grlwhoeats
                      roxlet RE: grlwhoeats Jul 30, 2010 04:32 AM

                      Sounds a little like a knish!

                      1. re: roxlet
                        grlwhoeats RE: roxlet Aug 1, 2010 11:47 AM

                        I LOVE knish. These are not nearly as dense as a knish. The crust is very light.

                      2. re: grlwhoeats
                        Gio RE: grlwhoeats Jul 30, 2010 05:16 AM

                        Your rice balls = arancini

                        1. re: Gio
                          grlwhoeats RE: Gio Aug 1, 2010 11:46 AM

                          Thanks for putting a name to a much loved food. These family recipe treasures with no names!

                          1. re: grlwhoeats
                            tatamagouche RE: grlwhoeats Aug 1, 2010 05:14 PM

                            Arancini are pretty well known, not hard to find. Depending on where you live you might even find an Italian restaurant near you that makes 'em.

                        2. re: grlwhoeats
                          Will Owen RE: grlwhoeats Aug 1, 2010 05:32 PM


                      3. s
                        Steve RE: Passadumkeg Jul 28, 2010 08:45 PM

                        They offer a fried calzone at Pupatella, a place in Arlington, VA. So you can try it when you make your trip down south.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Steve
                          Passadumkeg RE: Steve Jul 29, 2010 02:12 AM

                          Not when there are saltenas around!

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