Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 1 ½ hours
12 (1 ounce|30 gram) mozzarella cheese sticks, halved crosswise
3/4 cup|100 grams all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups|400 grams panko bread crumbs, finely crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (28-ounce|800 gram) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon chile flakes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
canola oil, for frying
1. Place the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes. Working with 1 piece of mozzarella at a time, dredge in flour, dip in eggs, and coat in breadcrumbs; repeat this process one more time, except don’t dredge them in the flour this go around. Lay on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Heat olive oil and butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high; add garlic and onion and cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes more, then add tomatoes, sugar, chile flakes, salt, and pepper; cook until thick, 15-18 minutes. Keep marinara sauce warm.
3. Heat the oven to 250°F. Heat 2-inches canola oil in a 6-quart saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 365°F. Working in batches, fry the mozzarella until golden and crisp, about 1 ½ minutes. Transfer the mozzarella sticks to paper towels to drain and place in the oven to keep warm while frying the remaining sticks. Serve hot and with marinara sauce.
This article originally appeared on Munchies US.