Pizza & Donut Love Child: The Panzerotto

This is a food I found by following a large line of people and a yeasty, savory, sweet smell. What I found, a panzeretto, would rock my eating universe forever.

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Panzerotti are comprised of a fried, yeasted donut type of dough that enrobes a variety of fillings. Originally hailing from Naples, Italy, I sampled several at a tiny shop in Milan that sold panzerotti exclusively. My favorite flavor, pomodoro, was made up of fresh buffalo mozzarella and sweet tomato sauce. I tried a few others: spinach and ricotta and strawberry and ricotta (they had a few more sweet versions), but none compared to the original taste of the tomato and cheese. These pocket-sized snacks are a perfect synthesis of flavor and texture: slight sweetness (the dough) and savory (sauces and cheese), the feel: soft on the inside, shattering flakiness on the outside. Oh, and they're served piping hot!

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These unbelievable treats also seemed to be a great economic equalizer — the stomach knows no class divisions, and this little snack had everyone lined up to get one. . . Fashion queens, teenagers, tourists, suits, fancy people, families. There was nowhere to sit, except a nearby curb, so most devotees ate while standing, or on the go.

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I don't think i've ever eaten anything as calorie dense or blissful. If you find yourself in Milan or Naples, you really must get a panzerotto, I implore you to do so! Or better yet, if you know a recipe for making panzerotti at home, please share it with us.

Related: Escape to Italy with a Recipe: Straccetti con Arugula e Funghi

(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)