Gnocco Fritto Rules

In Frank Bruni's entertaining and informative piece on the food of Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna in today's Times he mentions gnocco fritto, the addictive little pockets of fried dough served with salami, mortadella, sopressata, prosciutto, or stracchino cheese (or with lardo or culatello in Italy). Have you ever had gnocco fritto?

They're astonishingly good. Gnocco Fritto are one of those Italian dishes that I wish were available everywhere, but the fact of the matter is that gnocco fritto are hard to find in New York.

My favorite gnocco fritto in New York are served at Bianca,5 Bleecker Street (bet.Bowery and Elizabeth Sts.) 212-260-4666. Chef-owner Giancarlo Quaddalti's little fried pillows of dough are crisp, greaseless, and cloud-light. The man knows from gnocco fritto. He is from Emilia-Romagna.

At lunch you can get a mean gnocco fritto sandwich at Via Emilia, 47 E. 21st St. (bet. Park Ave. So. and Broadway), 212-505-3072 . Two slabs of fried dough surround pieces of prosciutto and mozzarella. The gnocco fritto here are not as light and artfully done as the ones at Bianca, but they're mightly tasty, nonetheless.

We need more gnocco fritto served in this country. Now.