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I would like you to meet a good friend of mine. The Panzerotto.
This southern Italy treat is a clear favorite of mine and I’m lucky that in Milan, miles and miles away from Puglia and my normal suppliers, I have a suitable fix for these. Fratelli Luini are Pugliese by origin but by now they are definitely Milanese, having had an establishment in Milan when my Italian ancestors were still in the country!
Apparently I’m not the only one who has heard of Luini – the line can be rather intimidating at times, but it goes quick. Also, sometimes you have what I call a “stupid line” which means people see a single line and queue up without realizing that you can go in either door and order (other door not visible in picture), and there is even a nice little sign on the other door saying “Order here” which the “stupid line” tends to ignore. So if you’re faced with a single “stupid” line, make sure you pop in the other door and order straight away.
I’d rather have the line than a second location and then the quality becomes suspect and you have decide which location to “favor.” Though I hear tell that the quality “has gone down in recent years,” they are quite good to me!
A panzerotto is simply a pocket of pizza dough filled with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, which is then closed and deep-fried. I have seen some mentions of panzerotti as “pizzas folded in half and fried” which is not correct. First of all, you are not holding a half of a pizza in your hands, it is much smaller. In fact, Luini’s are considered on the large side. The traditional panzerotto has only tomatoes and cheese inside or else there is commonly a prosciutto cotto (ham) & cheese version. Anything beyond that are more “specialist” panzerotti and you won’t find them everywhere, though they do exist – salami, mushrooms, pistachios are all popular fillings. There are even dessert panzerotti!
Luini makes tons of the traditional pomodoro e mozzarella version, and since they are constantly baking, I have never encountered a cold one, and usually get lucky as a steaming hot batch comes out from the back. With the other specialist versions, less requested and therefore less frequently made, you may run the risk of a lukewarm, yet delicious panzerotto.
There are also “baked” versions of panzerotti (not at Luini) which are also good and may be more attractive to those on a diet….but then they start to approach the realm of a Calzone.
This is one of my favorite stops and it is literally feet from the Duomo – a nice snack to keep you going if you don’t want to sit down and eat at one of the overpriced, touristy restaurants in that area!
Check out their site for a map and more information:
Panificio F.lli Luini – www.luini.it – Via Radegonda, 16, Milan