After moving to Australia I haven’t been able to eat many of the dishes I grew up with as they simply do not exist. If you have ever moved internationally, you will know the feeling… At the beginning you do not miss the food you left behind as you are too busy discovering all the new dishes and flavours of your new home, but after a while you start feeling the need for some of the “old comfort food” you were used to eating. So what do you do when you cannot find it in the stores? Exactly… you make it at home! Sofficini are usually sold frozen by a well known brand in Italy and I don’t think I exaggerate if I say that everybody in Italy has eaten them at least once. They are convenient, like all frozen food, since they can be cooked at the last minute for lunch or dinner on a busy day and it is a dish you know your kids will LOVE and will not fuss about. I grew up eating my fair share of sofficini and have tasted all the varieties they come in: with cheese, cheese and ham, cheese and eggplant, cheese and spinach, cheese and mushrooms… They are all delicious. But even though I have eaten them so often I had never wondered how they were made… and had never even contemplated making them at home! A few weeks ago, l stumbled upon this recipe on an Italian blog and the sofficini looked so similar to the ones I used to buy that I HAD to try making them. Well, the result was outstanding and I might add that these home-made sofficini taste even better… like all home-made things! Not only, they are also easy to make and you can make a few extra and freeze them, so you can have them ready whenever you need a quick fix. You can fill them with almost anything, but this time I have tried them with ham and cheese. These are as big as the original sofficini (about 13 cm/5 inches) and they are great as a main dish served with a salad, but you could even make them smaller and serve them as appetizers. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Misya.info
1 cup milk
1 cup flour, sifted
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
150 gms – 5 oz. cheese (Gouda or Swiss or sweet provolone), minced
150 ml – 5 oz. béchamel sauce
150 gms – 5 oz. ham, minced
Breadcrumbs to coat
Put the milk, butter and salt in a pot and put it on the fire. As soon as it boils, put the fire off and add the sifted flour. Mix well with a wooden spoon until well combined. You will obtain a pliable dough.
As soon as the dough is safe to handle with your hands, put it on a lightly floured surface and knead it until smooth and soft.
Make a ball and wrap it in cling paper. Let it rest at room temperature until completely cool.
Now roll the dough into a 3mm – 0.12 inches thick sheet. Do it on a sheet of baking paper, to make sure it does not stick. Cut out circles of 13cm – 5 inches in diameter.
Place some cheese, ham and 1 tbsp of béchamel sauce in one half of each circle, fold the other half over it and seal them well by pressing the edges closed with your fingers.
Beat the egg in a bowl and add salt to it and put the breadcrumbs in a separate plate.
Dip each sofficino in the egg and then coat it well with breadcrumbs, pressing with your palm so the crumbs stick well to it.
Shallow fry them in warm vegetable oil. Or bake them in a pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 20 minutes, but spray them with some extra virgin olive oil before baking them.
NOTE: You can also freeze the sofficini uncooked. Wrap them individually in cling wrap and then put them in a ziplog bag. You can cook them from frozen whenever you want to.