Author Notes: My mom taught me how to make this traditional dish from the Emiglia-Romagna region of Italy. It’s one of my favorite soups. Save any stale loaves of Italian bread, cut into smaller pieces and let them dry out completely. Blitz them in the food processor, first using the shredding blade, then a second time with the chopping blade, to get a very fine crumb. Use any good-quality broth you like, but homemade is best. I love broth made with drumsticks, as opposed to a whole chicken. Drumsticks have lots of cartilage and bones, making for a super flavorful broth. - mrslarkin
Food52 Review: Mrslarkin’s version of a traditional Emilia Romagna soup recipe is comforting and soothing—a delicious bowl of goodness. What I liked best about this recipe is its simplicity and its frugal nature. The passatelli reminded me more of a spaetzle than fresh pasta, but I loved how the generous amount of Parmesan cheese permeated the pasta strands, giving them a delicate and light texture, and how the passatelli almost melted into the full-bodied homemade broth. I look forward to making it again! - cookinginvictoria
For the homemade broth (or use 8 cups of a good quality, organic store-bought broth)
- 5 or 6 chicken drumsticks
- 1 large carrot, cut into a few pieces
- 1 large white onion, unpeeled, cut in half
- 1 large rib of celery, cut into a few pieces (or just lop off about 3” from the top of a celery bunch, leaves included)
- 1 bay leaf
- A sprig of thyme
- A few branches of flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Place all ingredients into a soup pot. Cover with about 8 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least an hour, with lid on. Taste for salt. Strain broth through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard most of the solids. I like to keep the chicken and carrots for snacking. Check the broth for salt. Set aside and keep warm.
For the passatelli
- 1 cup fine bread crumbs (about 4.25 ounces/120 grams), from one dry loaf of Italian bread
- 2 heaping cups (finely grated with a microplane grater) Parmigiano Reggiano (about 2.5 ounces/70 grams), plus extra for passing
- 2 tablespoons flour
- A good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of fresh cracked black pepper
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- Place 4 soup bowls in a low (warm) oven until ready to use.
- Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir the eggs in with a fork until a dough forms. Dough should be soft, and a little bit sticky, but not too much. Add a bit of flour or breadcrumbs if very wet. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest for about 10 minutes or so.
- Bring the broth up to a gentle boil.
- Working with ¼ of the dough at a time, place each portion into a large-holed potato ricer. Press the dough through the ricer. To release the pasatelli, scrape off the strands with the edge of a sharp knife, or an offset spatula. Let the strands fall directly into the boiling broth. The passatelli strands will be just over an inch long. Cook until the strands float to the top, just a minute or so. Continue with the rest of the dough. With a spider strainer or a large slotted spoon, transfer the passatelli to the warm soup bowls.
- When all the passatelli are cooked, ladle some broth into the passatelli-filled soup bowls and serve immediately, passing extra grated parmigiano. Serve immediately.