- 135g Italian-style dried breadcrumbs
- 130g freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 tsp salt
- 900g pasteurised mozzarella cut into 4cm x 1cm sticks
- 4 large eggs, beaten to blend
- 375ml vegetable oil
- 900g marinara sauce
- For the marinara sauce
- 125ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1.8kg tinned crushed tomatoes
- 2 dried bay leaves
Stir the bread crumbs, Parmesan and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Dip the cheese in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the cheese sticks on a baking tray. Repeat dipping the cheese sticks in the egg and bread crumb mixture to coat a second time. Cover and freeze until frozen, about two hours and up to two days.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown, about one minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve with the marinara sauce.
For the marinara sauce:
In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about one hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made a day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using. Makes 2L.)